Ladders in Illustration

The belief that walking under a ladder is bad luck comes from Ancient Egypt. A ladder leaning against a wall forms a triangle. This is a sacred shape because it represents the trinity of the gods. Passing through the triangle would desecrate them.

Upper Rhine c 1420-1440, Zurich, Zentralbibliothek Wsing a ladder to cross a river. A portable bridge, I guess.
Upper Rhine c 1420-1440, Zurich, Zentralbibliothek Wsing a ladder to cross a river. A portable bridge, I guess.
'Atta Boy' starring Mario Bianchi a.k.a. Monty Bank - Illustrator unknown, 1926 ladder
‘Atta Boy’ starring Mario Bianchi a.k.a. Monty Bank – Illustrator unknown, 1926 ladder
Sovereigns No.80 Caricature of The King of Prussi, James Tissot, Vanity Fair, January 1871
Sovereigns No.80 Caricature of The King of Prussi, James Tissot, Vanity Fair, January 1871
Coles Phillips - 'Good Housekeeping' magazine cover, April 1915 ladder
Coles Phillips – ‘Good Housekeeping’ magazine cover, April 1915 ladder
Anne Bachelier
Anne Bachelier
Tove Marika Jansson, illustrator (Finland 1914-2001) ladder
Tove Marika Jansson, illustrator (Finland 1914-2001)
Entitled by Kate Manne ladders
Florence Mary Anderson (1874–1930) 'The Key to the Moon'
Florence Mary Anderson (1874–1930) ‘The Key to the Moon’
Flying Lessons by Nava Semel
Flying Lessons by Nava Semel
1930 October, cover by Walter Buehr fruit picking
1930 October, cover by Walter Buehr fruit picking
William Heath Robinson (1872 - 1944) 1928 illustration Carrying out the Correspondence Course for Mountain Climbing in the House
William Heath Robinson (1872 – 1944) 1928 illustration Carrying out the Correspondence Course for Mountain Climbing in the House
Let's Find Out About Fall by Martha and Charles Shapp, illustrated by László Roth (1963) boy on ladder up a tree picking apples
Let’s Find Out About Fall by Martha and Charles Shapp, illustrated by László Roth (1963)
Retta Scott Worcester, Walt Disney's Cinderella. What's interesting in this illustration is that even the chair looks like a ladder.
Retta Scott Worcester, Walt Disney’s Cinderella. What’s interesting in this illustration is that even the chair looks like a ladder.
Lullaby Illustrator Yuri Vasnetsov
Lullaby Illustrator Yuri Vasnetsov
Edna Eicke (1919-1979), 1957
Edna Eicke (1919-1979), 1957
The Moon Singer by Clyde Robert Bulla, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman (1969)
The Moon Singer by Clyde Robert Bulla, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman (1969)
The book of wonder, a chronicle of little adventures at the edge of the world ca.1915 by Lord Dunsany illustrated by Sidney Herbert Sime
The book of wonder, a chronicle of little adventures at the edge of the world ca.1915 by Lord Dunsany illustrated by Sidney Herbert Sime
The book of wonder, a chronicle of little adventures at the edge of the world ca.1915 by Lord Dunsany illustrated by Sidney Herbert Sime
The book of wonder, a chronicle of little adventures at the edge of the world ca.1915 by Lord Dunsany illustrated by Sidney Herbert Sime
The Joke Book compiled by Oscar Weigle, illustrated by Bill & Bonnie Rutherford (1963) family frolics
The Joke Book compiled by Oscar Weigle, illustrated by Bill & Bonnie Rutherford (1963)
The Children at Green Meadows by Enid Blyton
Victor Nizovtsev
Victor Nizovtsev
by H Woolley, for Puppies and Kittens, a LadybirdBook by M E Gagg (1957)
by H Woolley, for Puppies and Kittens, a Ladybird Book by M. E. Gagg (1956)
The book of wonder, a chronicle of little adventures at the edge of the world ca.1915 by Lord Dunsany illustrated by Sidney Herbert Sime
The book of wonder, a chronicle of little adventures at the edge of the world ca.1915 by Lord Dunsany illustrated by Sidney Herbert Sime
Cirque Medrano, René-Jacques, 1946
Cirque Medrano, René-Jacques, 1946

Some ladders aren’t ladders.

from Mr Munchausen Being a true account of some of the recent adventures beyond the styx of the late hieronymus Carl Friedrich, Sometime Baron Munchausen of Bodenwerder 1901
Peter Newell (1862-1924) from Mr Munchausen Being a true account of some of the recent adventures beyond the styx of the late hieronymus Carl Friedrich, Sometime Baron Munchausen of Bodenwerder 1901
Christmas Card by Edward Gorey; 1925-2000
Christmas Card by Edward Gorey; 1925-2000
Romantic Possibilities in Modern Flats by W. Heath Robinson (1872-1944) most famous for cartoons featuring fanciful mechanical contrivances, like the American cartoonist Rube Goldberg
Romantic Possibilities in Modern Flats by W. Heath Robinson (1872-1944) most famous for cartoons featuring fanciful mechanical contrivances, like the American cartoonist Rube Goldberg
DER ORCHIDEENGARTEN first German fantasy magazine
DER ORCHIDEENGARTEN first German fantasy magazine

A ladder is especially necessary if you are a miniature person.

Helen Mary Jacobs (English,1888-1970) - Pixie Painters ladder pixie
Helen Mary Jacobs (English,1888-1970) – Pixie Painters ladder pixie
From Milo Winter  (1888 – 1956) Tanglewood Tales
From Milo Winter (1888 – 1956) Tanglewood Tales
Home » Ladders in Illustration

Header illustration: ‘Seasons – Fall, Winter’ Illustrator not found c1890, but found in an Italian publication. German influence likely. Autumn, associated with apples, are frequently associated with ladders.