fine art

The Children’s Corner by Henriette Willebeek Le Mair

The Doves’ Dinner-Time

Born in Rotterdam Holland in 1889, Henriette Willebeek Le Mair was always destined to be imaginative and artistic. From birth she was immersed in a stimulating and creative environment. Her father would tell stories and create sketches and pictures of the children and her mother was a keen painter and writer of poetry and verse.

Le Mair appreciated the work of Maurice Boutet de Monvel, the most successful illustrator in France at that time. At fifteen years old, her parents took her to see him in Paris to ask his advice. He told her to study anatomy and gave her advice on painting childrens’ portraits. Every year she would return to him to show him her progress. De Monvel also convinced her to study at the Rotterdam Academy from 1909 to 1911. She also studied under a drawing-master in Holland. He required her to draw the model while it danced in circles, first at a slow speed, then at increased speeds.

Her first book “Premieres Rondes Enfantines” was published in France in 1904 when she was just 15 years old. One year later Henriette collaborated with her mother on a series of three books containing her mothers verse with Henriette providing the illustrations. Her most prolific period of work was between the years of 1911 to 1917. Like many other artists of the time, her work also appeared on sets of postcards and children’s china.

In her early twenties she ran an exclusive nursery school in her home and drew from this experience for much of her work, using her pupils as her models just as Cicely Mary Barker did. In 1920 Le Mair married H.P. Baron van Tuyll van Serooskerkenand and adopted the name “Saida”. They both converted to the beliefs of Sufism, a religion of universal brotherhood and love, as taught by Murshid Inayat Khan, and spent their lives helping the poor and other charitable causes. They eventually settled in The Hague, Netherlands.

Her delicate style of painting and the medium of watercolor were ideal for showing children in beautiful surroundings. Her illustrations show painstaking and minute attention to detail. Her drawing style was flat with muted colors and decorative borders. One critic from The Studio wrote; “Since the days of Kate Greenaway I know of no one who has caught so well the spirit of childhood as Miss Willebeek Le Mair.”

Henriette Willebeek Le Mair died on the 15th of March 1966 aged 77.

Little Songs of Long Ago by Henriette Willebeek Le Mair

See-Saw, Marjorie Daw

The Children’s Corner by Henriette Willebeek Le Mair

The Invalid’s Birthday

Little Songs of Long Ago by Henriette Willebeek Le Mair

Curly Locks

Little Songs of Long Ago by Henriette Willebeek Le Mair

London Bridge is Broken Down

The Children’s Corner by Henriette Willebeek Le Mair

Buying Hats

Little Songs of Long Ago by Henriette Willebeek Le Mair

There Came to My Window

You can find these wonderful illustrations (and many more) on mugs, bags, cards and postcards by clicking on the image below.  Thank you for visiting 🙂

Frank Cheyne Papé Frank Cheyne Papé lived a long life. Unfortunately we don’t seem to know very much about it. Papé was born in 1878 and later lived in Tunbridge Wells with his wife Agnes.

He appears to have started illustrating at the beginning of  the 1900’s and hit the big time with his work in James Branch Cabell’s rather risqué ‘Jurgen’ in 1921.

Papé continued his black and white work with more of cabell’s books and other satires. He died in 1972 aged 94.

Below is an example of Papés magical earlier colour work. The Russian Story Book is a ‘retelling of tales from the song-cycles of Kiev and Novgorod and other early sources’.

The Russian Story Book – 1916

The Russian Story Book by Frank Cheyne Papé

Then the Princess ran with her feet all bare into the open corridor

The Russian Story Book by Frank Cheyne Papé

Marina lay upon a couch…and fondled a fiery dragon with her right hand

The Russian Story Book by Frank Cheyne Papé

A mountain cave which no man has ever seen

The Russian Story Book by Frank Cheyne Papé

The Russian Story Book by Frank Cheyne Papé She put her good steed to the walls and leapt lightly over them

The Russian Story Book by Frank Cheyne Papé

It was clear that her fascination still worked upon the hearts of the prisoners

The Russian Story Book by Frank Cheyne Papé

The black-browed maid stood upon the bank as the red ship…sailed away from Novgorod

The Russian Story Book by Frank Cheyne Papé

Diuk stooped and caught Churilo by his yellow curls

The Russian Story Book by Frank Cheyne Papé

“Oh,” said the man, “I am able to do everything”

The Russian Story Book by Frank Cheyne Papé

To find these wonderful pictures and more art by Frank Cheyne Papé on high quality cards, postcards and posters, please click below 🙂



Jessie Willcox Smith prints, cards and posters

Jessie Willcox Smith was an American illustrator whose impressive volume of work includes more than 60 books and almost 200 covers for Good Housekeeping.

Born in Philadelphia in 1863, Jessie didn’t discover her talent until the age of 16.  After attending the School of  Design for Women and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia she worked for the Ladies’ Home Journal for 5 years.  Frustrated by her education so far, Jessie left the job to study under Howard Pyle at the Drexel Institute in 1894.

After leaving Drexel, Jessie rented a studio with two fellow students of Pyle, Violet Oakley and Elizabeth Shippen Green.  14 years later she was working steadily and had enough financial security to have her own house and studio built.  The property was surrounded by gardens that her young models would play in while she observed, waiting for the perfect subject to draw. Working in natural light and with her models playing freely around her the results are the wonderfully warm and charming illustrations below.

Remaining unmarried, Jessie Willcox Smith seems to have sacrificed motherhood for her career but her life was certainly not childless. Her drawings show the love and passion she had for children. In later years Jessie chose portrait work and kept her subjects’ attention with fairy tales. In her own words…

“It has been one long joyous road along which troop delightful children, happy children, sad children, thoughtful children, and above all wondering, imaginative children, who give to their charmingly original thoughts a delicious quaintness of expression. I love to paint them all.”

She died in 1935 aged 71.

Jessie Willcox Smith prints, cards and posters

The Seven Ages of Childhood – 1909

Jessie Willcox Smith prints, cards and posters

First the Infant in It’s Mother’s Arms

Jessie Willcox Smith prints, cards and posters

Then the Epicure, With Fine and Greedy Taste for Porridge

Jessie Willcox Smith prints, cards and posters

Then the Scholar, With Eyes Severe and Hair of Formal Cut

'The Seven Ages of Childhood' (1909)

At the Back of the North Wind – 1919

Jessie Willcox Smith prints, cards and posters

“Dear boy!” said his mother; “your father’s the best man in the world.”

Jessie Willcox Smith prints, cards and posters

“Are you ill, dear North Wind?”

Jessie Willcox Smith prints, cards and posters

So Diamond sat down again and took the baby in his lap

'At the Back of the North Wind' (1919)

The Princess and the Goblin – 1920

 

Jessie Willcox Smith prints, cards and posters

She ran for some distance, turned several times, and then began to be afraid

Jessie Willcox Smith prints, cards and posters

There sat his mother by the fire, and in her arms lay the princess fast asleep

Jessie Willcox Smith prints, cards and posters

“Come,” and she still held out her arms

Please take a look at my Jessie Willcox Smith cards, postcards and posters – just click on the poster below – thanks for visiting  🙂

Jessie Willcox Smith prints


Old French Fairy Tales“Her achievement was beauty, a delicate, fantastic beauty, created with brush and pencil. Almost unschooled in art, her life spent in prosaic places of the West and Middle West, she made pictures of haunting loveliness, suggesting Oriental lands she never saw and magical realms no one ever knew except in the dreams of childhood … Perhaps it was the hardships of her own life that gave the young artist’s work its fanciful quality. In the imaginative scenes she set down on paper she must have escaped from the harsh actualities of existence.”

I am starting off this blog with my favourite Golden Age artist, Virginia Frances Sterrett. The above comment from the St Louis Post-Dispatch of July 1931, perfectly sums up her amazing accomplishments despite her short and difficult life.

Virginia Frances Sterrett was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1900 and moved with her family to Missouri and Kansas following the death of her father.

She started to draw as a small child and, encouraged by the success of her drawings in the Kansas State Fair Exhibition, she went to Chicago at 15 to attend high school and study art. She was given a full scholarship. Unfortunately, her mother became ill and Sterrett was forced to leave her studies to support the family.  Virginia worked in various art advertising agencies until her own health began to fail.  In 1919 at age 19, Sterrett received her first commission. She was also diagnosed with tuberculosis.

Old French Fairy Tales was published in 1920. Consisting of 5 ageless fairy tales by Sophie, la Comtesse de Ségur, the book included 8 magnificent full page colour illustrations and many equally stunning line drawings.

Virginia Frances Sterrett prints, cards and posters

She threw her arms around the neck of Bonne-Biche

Old French Fairy Tales

Rosalie never left the park, which was surrounded by high walls

Old French Fairy Tales

They were three months passing through the forest

Old French Fairy Tales

The fairy must give herself up to the queen and lose her power for eight days

Old French Fairy Tales

What are you seeking, little one?

Old French Fairy Tales

The broom was on fire at once, blazed up and burned her hands

Old French Fairy Tales

Violette consented willingly to pass the night in the forest

I have enjoyed restoring these wonderful illustrations and have some products to share with you.  All images are at least 300 ppi to show the incredible detail.  Please take a look.

I’ll be visiting Virginia’s life and work again at a later date so please do come back.