437px-Jessie Willcox Smith cph.3c23073

Jessie Willcox Smith.

Jessie Willcox Smith
(September 6, 1863 – May 3, 1935) was one of the most prominent female illustrators in the United States during The Golden Age of American Illustration. Smith was a prolific contributor to books and magazines during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, illustrating stories and articles for clients such as Century, Collier's Weekly, Leslie's Weekly, Harper's, McClure's, Scribners, and the Ladies' Home Journal.

Artistic Style

Throughout the years Smith's style changed drastically. In the beginning over her career she used dark lined borders to delineate brightly colored objects and people. In her later works she softened the lines and colors until they almost disappeared. Smith worked in mixed media- oil, pastels, charcoal-whatever gave her the desired effect. She often overlaid oils on charcoal on paper whose grain or texture added an important element to the work. This use of color lends to an impressionist tone to her work, an influence of the French impressionist painters.

Most of Smith's work is primarily concerned with children and motherly love. Many reviewers say Smith was incessantly trying to recreate the love she desperatley needed as a child. Smith preferred to use real children as opposed to child actors because they didn't have the same soul or will to explore as a normal child would. Instead, she would invite her friends over and watch their children play and use that as inspiration for her artwork.

Illustrated works

  • New and True [Poems] – Mary Wiley Staver (Lee & Shepard, 1892)
  • Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1897)
  • The Young Puritans in Captivity – Mary Prudence Wells Smith (Little, Brown & Co, 1899)
  • An Old Fashioned Girl – Louisa May Alcott (1902)
  • The Book of The Child [Short Stories] – Mabel Humphrey (Stokes, 1903)
  • Rhymes of Real Children – Betty Sage (Duffield, 1903)
  • In The Closed Room – Frances Hodgson Burnett (Hodder, 1904)
  • A Child’s Garden of Verses – Robert Louis Stevenson (Scribner US/Longmans Green UK, 1905)
  • The Bed-Time Book – Helen Hay Whitney (Duffield US/Chatto UK, 1907)
  • Dream Blocks – Aileen Cleveland Higgins (Duffield US/Chatto UK, 1908)
  • The Seven Ages of Childhood – Carolyn Wells (Moffat & Yard, 1909)
  • A Child’s Book of Old Verses – Various Poets (Duffield, 1910)
  • The Five Senses – Angela M. Keyes (1911)
  • The Now-a-Days Fairy Book – Anna Alice Chapin (1911)
  • A Child’s Book of Stories – Penrhyn W. Coussens (1911)
  • Dicken’s Children – Charles Dickens (Scribner, 1912)
  • Twas The Night Before Christmas – Clement C. Moore (1912)
  • The Jessie Willcox Smith Mother Goose (1914)
  • Little Women – Louisa May Alcott (Little, Brown & Co, 1915)
  • When Christmas Comes Around – Priscilla Underwood (Duffield, 1915)
  • Swift’s Premium Calendar (1916)
  • The Water Babies – Charles Kingsley (Dodd, Mead & Co, 1916)
  • The Way to Wonderland – Mary Stewart (Dodd, Mead & Co, 1917)
  • Good Housekeeping August 1917 – first cover for the magazine
  • At The Back of The North Wind – George MacDonald (McKay, 1919)
  • The Princess and The Goblin – George MacDonald (McKay, 1920)
  • Heidi – Johanna Spyri (McKay, 1922)
  • Boys and Girls of Bookland – Nora Archibald Smith (Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, 1923)
  • A Very Little Child’s Book of Stories – Ada M. & Eleanor L. Skinner (1923)
  • A Child’s Book of Country Stories – Ada M. & Eleanor L. Skinner (Duffield, 1925)
  • Adapted from “Jessie Willcox Smith: American Illustrator” – Edward D. Nudelman (Pelican, 1990)


Creators Authors Lewis Carroll - Anna Matlack Richards - Saki - Gilbert Adair - Frank Beddor
Illustrators John Tenniel - Arthur Rackham - Blanche McManus - Peter Newell - Fanny Cory - Bessie Pease Gutmann - Charles Robinson - Harry Rountree - Harry Furniss - Mabel Lucie Attwell - Milo Winter - Oliver Herford - Uriel Birnbaum - Jessie Willcox Smith - Charles Folkard - Mervyn Peake - Alex Blum - Leonard Weisgard - Walt Disney - Marjorie Torrey - Tove Jansson - Ralph Steadman - Frank Bolle - Charles Blackman - Barry Moser - Michael Hague - Anthony Browne - Willy Pogany - Marie Laurencin - Salvador Dalí - Brothers Hildebrandt - Gavin O'Keefe - Tony Ross - Helen Oxenbury - Lisbeth Zwerger - Oleg Lipchenko - Franciszka Themerson

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