"Charlotte's Web," unused painting for the dust wrapper of E. B. White's Charlotte's Web (New York: Harper & Bros., 1952). Signed. Watercolor over blue proof. 21.8 x 17.3cm (8 9/16 x 6 13/16in).
Charlotte's Web is arguably one of the most important American children's books of the latter twentieth century. It may well be the most beloved. To retain the strength of the black line of his drawing for the jacket, Williams painted a blue proof of the ink drawing with watercolor. Harper & Row rejected this first, more polished and detailed version in favor of the lighter, looser rendering that has been used ever since.