Howard Pyle (March 5, 1853 — November 9, 1911) was an American illustrator and writer, primarily of books for young audiences. A native of Wilmington, Delaware, he spent the last year of his life in Florence, Italy.__FORCETOC__In 1894 he began teaching illustration at the Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry (now Drexel University), and after 1900 he founded his own school of art and illustration called the Howard Pyle School of Illustration Art. The term the Brandywine School was later applied to the illustration artists and Wyeth family artists of the Brandywine region by Pitz (later called the Brandywine School). Some of his more famous students were Olive Rush, N. C. Wyeth, Frank Schoonover, Elenore Abbott, Ellen Bernard Thompson Pyle, Allen Tupper True, Anna Whelan Betts, Ethel Franklin Betts, Harvey Dunn and Jessie Willcox Smith.
His 1883 classic The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood remains in print to this day, and his other books, frequently with medieval European settings, include a four-volume set on King Arthur that cemented his reputation.
He wrote an original novel, Otto of the Silver Hand, in 1888. He also illustrated historical and adventure stories for periodicals such as Harper's Weekly and St. Nicholas Magazine. His novel Men of Iron was made into a movie in 1954, The Black Shield of Falworth.
Pyle travelled to Florence, Italy to study mural painting in 1910, and died there in 1911 of sudden kidney infection (Bright's Disease).
In addition to numerous illustrations for Harper's Weekly, other periodical publications, and the children's books of others, Pyle wrote and illustrated a number of books himself.
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood is Pyle's distillation of many Robin Hood legends and ballads, modified to make them suitable for the child audience he sought to appeal to. He modified the ballad "Robin Hood's Progress to Nottingham", changing it from Robin killing fourteen foresters for not paying on a bet, to the robbers threatening Robin, and Pyle has Robin kill only one man who shoots at him first. Tales where Robin steals all that a traveler carried, such as "Robin Hood and the Bishop of Hereford", were changed so that the victim keeps a third, and another third is dedicated to the poor.Pyle did not have much more concern for historical accuracy than the ballads, though he did alter the name of the queen in "Robin Hood and Queen Katherine" to Queen Eleanor, historically compatible with the king with whom Robin made his peace being King Richard the Lion-Hearted.
Indeed, none of the tales in the book were Pyle's own invention. However, he wove the tales together to form a unified story. The adventure with the Curtal Friar, for instance, was not an isolated tale, but undertaken to bring back Friar Tuck, because a priest was needed to marry Allan a Dale