Norman Rockwell Gallery

In 1935 Norman Rockwell was commissioned by Heritage Press to illustrate special editions of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. He came to Hannibal to make preliminary sketches. He then returned to his studio in New Rochelle, New York, to paint the illustrations.

Following the publication of Tom Sawyer, the illustrations for that book were loaned to the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum. Rockwell borrowed them back in 1940 for a traveling exhibition of his works. In 1941 the Tom Sawyer illustrations, accompanied for the first time by those for Huckleberry Finn, were sent to the museum. They have been on display since 1941. In 1972 Rockwell formally donated the paintings to the Mark Twain Museum.

The paintings received conservation work at the St. Louis Art Museum. They were framed behind ultraviolet light-filtering glass for protection. These are the original oil paintings.

The only painting that is not an original piece is the Fence Painting Scene. The original was sold during the 1940-1941 exhibition. The original is now located in the Farnsworth Art Museum in the State of Maine. It has periodically been on display in Hannibal.

Sometimes people ask about the illustrations from the original books. The first editions of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn were illustrated with pen and ink drawings. The drawings for Tom Sawyer were produced by True Williams and the illustrations for Huckleberry Finn were drawn by Edward Kemble.

Due to copyright restrictions, we cannot show the illustrations on our website. The original paintings, along with lithographs of the preliminary sketches for the Tom Sawyer illustrations are on display in the Museum Gallery every day.