Evolution of a Tyrannosaurus “Look”




This three-quarter-view image of Tyrannosaurus —  on the cover of a 1960s coloring book, the product of an uncredited artist — was ubiquitous since the 1930s, being copied, revised and possibly even traced by other artists in countless publications and even merchandise.

Follow the evolution of this image through this sequential series of pictures:


Where this visual evolution began — a mural painted by artist Charles R. Knight in 1930 for the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, with the Tyrannosaurus depicted in left lateral view, reproduced on this souvenir postcard.









P. G. Alen’s life-sized mechanical Tyrannosaurus figure — which first appeared in the “Sinclair Dinosaur Exhibit” at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, “A Century of Progress and is seen here in this picture from the Big News souvenir newspaper —  was based directly on Knight’s mural, the Field Museum being located within walking distance of the Fair.





However, when photographed in three-quarter view, this figure took on its own distinctive image, especially in the somewhat “horse-like”  shape of its head, as shown in this photo in the Fair’s Picture News souvenir newspaper.

The three-quarter view was the basis for James A. Allen’s painting done for The Sinclair Dinosaur Book (1934), a widely distributed give-away item written by paleontologist Barnum Brown.



Postcard showing the life-sized Tyrannosaurus statue made by sculptor Emmet A. Sullivan during the mid-1930s for Dinosaur Park in Rapid City, South Dakota — the figures in this park seemingly having been based upon both the Sinclair and Knight imagery.


















Allen’s three-quarter-view painting became the source of much Tyrannosaurus imagery during the 1930s m 1940s, 1950s nd beyond, as seen in these few examples.

Metal figure from SRG Sell Rite Giftware), ca. 1947.


Jeep Comics number 3 (1948).

















Painting by J. Allen St. John for a 1948 pulp magazine, with some changes in body language but retaining that familiar head.





From the book Stories Read from the Rocks (1955), written by Bertha Morris Parker.











From the comic book Marvel Tales number 147 (1956).


1980s tourists brochure.

















Full circle! At least twice, on the covers of this 1942 pulp magazine and 1951 comic book, J. Allen St. John and an uncreduted artist, respectively, brought the three-quarter-view Tyrannosaurus back to a horizonatal position — but obviously without referring back to Knight’s original.