14 March 2010

The art of Virginia Frances Sterrett

Illustrations by Virginia Frances Sterrett have been assembled at the Old Book Illustrations Blog. The ones above come from Old French Fairy Tales by the Comtesse de Ségur. Philadelphia, 1920.  Wiki has this to say about the artist:
Sterrett received her first commission at the tender age of 19 (shortly after she was diagnosed with Tuberculosis)... From 1923, in failing health, Sterrett was able to work on projects for short periods of time only and as a result, she was able to complete just one further commission prior to her death - her own interpretation of Arabian Nights (1928).
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'd not heard of her before.  These are gorgeous drawings.


  1. They seem -- although beautiful -- heavily influenced by Kai Neilsen's work (spelling?). But I wonder if he had been published in the US at the time she was drawing. If not, amazing coincidence in style.

  2. Also very similar to Harry Clarke.



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