Monday, July 23, 2012

Vintage Dinosaur Art: The Quarry Shuttle at Dinosaur National Monument

I have a John Sibbick book of my own to share, but I've decided to hold back and give the kind readers of LITC a little break. Instead, today I'm sharing a collection of dinosaur illustrations that decorate the shuttle which operates within Dinosaur National Monument, taking visitors to the visitor center protecting its most famous landmark. In keeping with the monument's focus on the history of paleontology, they are throwbacks to the saurians of mid-century dinosaur books, possibly one we might have featured in this ongoing series.

UPDATE: Indeed they are - readers have pointed out that these are derivative of the Giant Golden Book of Dinosaurs, featuring Rudolf Zallinger's work. That's one I've wanted to find for a while but never have.

The paintings, which encircle the shuttle's two trailers, covering just about every panel large enough to accommodate artwork, are the work of Kay Thunehorst, an obscure artist with zero presence on the toobs. I've put out feelers to find when these paintings were made, and will update with what I find out.

The Quarry Shuttle

Continuing the tradition of presenting iconic non-dinosaurian creatures alongside the bona fide members of the tribe, the shuttle includes Dimetrodon and a Pteranodon gracing the front of the shuttle.
The Quarry Shuttle

The Quarry Shuttle

The hadrosaurs are represented by Lambeosaurus and the taxonomic mess of Trachodon.
The Quarry Shuttle

The Quarry Shuttle

They're joined by their relative Iguanodon, placidly giving the thumbs up.
The Quarry Shuttle

The thyreophorans are represented by their chosen delegates, Ankylosaurus and Stegosaurus.
The Quarry Shuttle

The Quarry Shuttle

Triceratops and Styracosaurus step up for the ceratopsians
The Quarry Shuttle

The Quarry Shuttle

The shuttle wouldn't feel right without sauropods, of course, and Thunehorst has painted Diplodocus and a traditional, swamp-bound Brachiosaurus.
The Quarry Shuttle

The Quarry Shuttle

The third sauropod is a return to one of my favorite tropes: Gory theropod attacks on the docile giants. Here it's the vicious Allosaurus grimly dispatching poor ol' Brontosaurus UPDATE: It's also a copy of Zallinger's take on this battle, as you can see here.
The Quarry Shuttle

Yes, there be theropods on the shuttle, as further attested by this generic member of the clan, as well as the mandatory Tyrannosaurus and our little buddy Compsognathus.
The Quarry Shuttle

The Quarry Shuttle

The Quarry Shuttle

These illustrations are not technically proficient, but they bear a primitive charm, and their weathered look adds a certain poignance to them. It was a pleasant surprise to see Thunehorst's cross-section of the dinosauria (pluss a couple oddballs) on the shuttle. Outdated illustrations like live on as reminders of how far we've come in the last few decades. Long may they decorate the shuttle to the Quarry Visitor Center. Speaking of which, my next post will bring us face to face with its famous wall of fossils. Special thanks to David Prus and Christina Wilsdon for pointing out the heritage of these pieces from the Zallinger illustrations.

6 comments:

  1. The dramatic Allosaurus scene is Roger Corman's material :P

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  2. The allosaurus and brontosaurus are directly out of the pages of "The Giant Golden Book of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Reptiles"...right down to the grimace on Bronty's face! Here's a link to a blogger who posted the illustration I mean, it's part way down the page...http://kharisampson.wordpress.com/tag/dinosaurs/

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  3. Looks like many or all of these are. That's one book I've never found, so didn't recognize it. Revising post to note it, thanks.

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  4. Kay Thunehorst was a Vernal resident... I went to school with her son. I believe she passed away in just the last couple of years... I would guess that she'd be in her mid eighties by now. Sorry I can't fill in any more details but thought you might like to know that little tidbit.

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  5. These paintings DO look familiar... http://chasmosaurs.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/vintage-dinosaur-art-dinosaurs-and.html

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  6. I had fun choosing this particular painting online that now hangs in my downtown office,
    from Wahooart.co, who sells canvas prints of art masterpieces. While the original is treasured in some
    art museum in England, my print http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/Opra/BRUE-8LHS4U, of this painting by Edward
    Burne-Jones is very much appreciated by my staff and clients. The print quality is really excellent.

    ReplyDelete

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