Thursday, June 26, 2014


For many years I have loved the art of Jessie Willcox Smith, although I did not realize it was always her work. 

Born in Phillidelphia in 1863, she graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1888, and took a job as an illustrator for The Ladies Home Journal thus beginning a lifelong career as a renound Magazine cover illustrator, one of the most recognized in the world.

In 1915, she began her career as the cover illustrator for Good Housekeeping Magazine for as long as she wanted the position.  She stayed for 15 years and was paid was paid $1,500.00 per cover making her the highest paid illustrator of her time.  These covers are perhaps what most of us know her for.  They show the simplicity of everyday life and in these times of instant everything it is heartwarming to look at them and think of a time when life was so family oriented and simpler.  I have several of them framed in my home and it just make me very happy to see them everyday.

As I said, I have always loved her art but I did not always know it was her work.  When I was a very little girl my grandmother gave me a book called The Water Babies.  I loved the story but the illustrations fascinated me even at that young age.  How magical to be able to bring a story to life with such beautiful, whimsical drawings.  That book was worn out from years of turning the pages and Jessie Willcox Smith is one of the artist who began my love of art and who started me drawing which gave me a lifelong love and career as an artist.

Jessie Willcox Smith was also an illustrator of children's books and other magazines such as Collier's.  She never married but had her brush on the heartbeat of family life and through her eyes she left a legacy of life in her time.

I am sure you have all seen her work in one form or another but you should look her up.  She had a long, fabulous career and her illustrations are endless.  Thank goodness for artist like her for she preserved a life worth remembering.


  1. Hi Sue, such wonderful art, so many adorable pictures, Francine.

  2. What wonderful illustrations, thanks for introducing her to me, love her work!