Jessie Wilcox Smith

30 Sep 2008

If you are looking for inspiration to make beautiful dolls you need look no further than the beautiful illustrations of
Jessie Wilcox Smith.
An American woman, she was born in 1863 and died in 1935. Originally because of her love of children she was a Kindergarten teacher but her talent for drawing was discovered and after studying art she began working as an artist.

She attended the Drexel Institute to improve her skills so she could become a book illustrator. I believe several other important female illustrators attended at the same time.

Books in Winter by Jessie Wilcox-Smith

Jessie specialised in the portrayal of the the domestic, mainly drawing pictures of women and children.
It is said that her pictures influenced children's clothing styles over many years. I think it's influence is still felt.
She illustrated
many books and is also well known for her cover illustrations for good Housekeeping magazine.
I have prints of two of these on my kitchen wall.

There is such a gentleness to her drawings.
Her work is truly beautiful.
She captures all that is precious about children.
Mary Engelbreit , whose work I also love, sites Jessie as one of her main inspirations

I use one of her illustrations as my avatar and I have often used Jessie's pictures in my blog posts.

Each year for my Christmas treat for myself I buy a beautiful calendar that I can enjoy not only through the year but later as well.

Last year it was a Grandma Moses calendar,this year it's a Carl Larsson one and for next year I am buying a Jessie Wilcox Smith .

8 Responses to “Jessie Wilcox Smith”

  1. I remember as a child spending ages just looking at illustrations like these ones and daydreaming about what life was like for the children in them and often wishing that I could be there too.
    Then as a child care worker I used to love to read Shirley Hughes books to the children for the same reason and when my eldest was only very little he always wanted me to read her Alfie books to him. I loved the illustrations in them too, especially the ones of Alfie's home, I could so relate to them. They always felt like a real home, an unrushed, warm, welcoming and inviting place to be.
    I think I might take your calendar idea on board too, and make it a special treat for myself.

    cheers Kate

  2. Oh Kate, I adore Shirley Hughes books too. I especially like the Lucy and Tom books and we have a poetry book called Rhymes for Annie Rose which is beautiful.

    I also have always loved Sunshine by Jan Ormerod. I actually bought it for myself long before I had children in 1883. Such sweet, sweet pictures.

  3. The pictures are so beautiful, especially the one of the girl sitting on the window seat. Thank you for sharing these with us. Your post has sent me searching for a few of my daughter's books I have kept from her delightful to give away...A Child's Book of Seasons by Satomi Ichikawa, and The Brambley Hedge books.

  4. Hi Jen, thanks so much for sharing this information. I have always loved books with illustrations of children and domestic life. I still could sit and enjoyed them as much,are more than when I was a child. I am a big fan of Eloise Wilken and shared many a time reading the Little Golden books she illustrated to my children. I just recently got those beloved story books out and gave them to my children so they could share them in story time with their own little ones. It wasn't a easy task letting them go. They hold so many precious memories for me.

    Blessings, Shelley

  5. I never tire of her artwork, it is all about what childhood is! We seem to have very similar tastes in artists. I assume you also like Tasha Tudor?

  6. I have a cover of Good Housekeeping's November 1931 issue framed in my dining room. It's her picture of a little girl in an apron rolling out dough. It's one of my favorite treasures!

  7. Once again I have learned someting new. Found the source of things I have loved for a long long time. The most amazing things happen every day. Thank you for helping me with yet another piece of a puzzle!


Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. I don't always have time to reply but I do read every message you leave.