Friday, April 2, 2010

Illustrator - Milton Menasco

The Black Stallion series by Walter Farley has had any number of illustrators over the years, but one of my favorites was Milton Menasco. His muscular, physical horses were in direct contrast to the more stylized illustrations by Harold Eldridge and Keith Ward, and the colors in his cover paintings were intensely beautiful.

Milton Menasco

He started out in his native Los Angeles doing movie posters in the silent film era, worked in films themselves as art and set director, then in 1925 moved to New York City and advertising. After spending WWII painting battle scenes for Life magazine, he moved to Kentucky and specialized in horse portraits. He did commissions for some of racing's most famous people of some of racing's most famous horses; the people include Penny Chenery, John Whitney and Arthur B. Hancock, Jr., while the horses include Secretariat, La Troienne, and Nashua. He also did illustrations for a book about the Hancock family in Thoroughbred racing, From Here To The Bugle.

Books Illustrated - Walter Farley
The Black Stallion's Filly
The Black Stallion And Satan
Son Of The Black Stallion
The Blood Bay Colt

Books Illustrated - Other
Judging the Horse for Racing, Riding and Recreation by John F. Wall and Frank Jennings
From Here To The Bugle by Frank G. Jennings and Charles J. Calitri

His film credits at IMDB
His former home in Versailles, Kentucky

Links - examples of his art
Examples of his paintings at
Portrait of the racehorse Assault at
Pennsylvania Railroad poster, available at
Image of Son Of The Black Stallion at


AC said...

I wasn't aware that there were different illustrators. My childhood copies were the 1970s paperbacks with cover art only (any idea who did those?) And the library had older hardcovers of a few books. I assumed at the time that they were all illustrated by the same person, so now I'll have to be on the lookout for older editions.

Interesting note: the name Penny Chenery caught my eye. I looked her up and found that the Secretariat owner was also Blanche Chenery Perrin's niece. Puts "Born to Race" in a whole new light.

Sarah said...

I didn't know that about Secretariat connection. Interesting.

While researching something else entirely, I finally figured out who who did the 1970's paperback covers (which are by far my favorites) for the Black Stallion series - Ruth Sanderson. If you go to her website,, and go to Portfolio, you can see several versions of them under Horses.