Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Beloved Treasure from my Childhood

from the story of King Midas
The great illustrators of the Art Nouveau period, and those influenced by it, have always been among my favorite artists.  Arthur Rackham, Walter Crane, Kay Nielsen, Ivan Bilibin, to name just a few, have all illustrated beautifully-imagined children's picture books.  Aubrey Beardsley and many other artists have illustrated brilliantly for adults.  I was very surprised one day to find a book at my parents' home, A Treasure Chest of Nursery Favorites.  I did not remember the book, but all the pictures were familiar and they evoked a strong emotional response like long lost friends reappearing.  My mother told me that dad read to me from the book when I was very young.  As I looked at the pictures, mostly by the artist Margaret Evans Price, I realized that many of my favorite artists created in a style that was similar to hers.  This one small children's book had had such a tremendous influence on my artistic development and continues to color my artistic perceptions and preferences to this day.

A Treasure Chest of Nursery Favorites
Pictures by Margaret Evans Price and Milo Winter
Rand McNally & Company
Copyright 1936
Edition of 1944

These next few illustrations and the one at the very beginning of this article are from A Treasure Chest of Nursery Favorites

from Beauty and the Beast
Pictures by Margaret Evans Price

from Sleeping Beauty

from Jack and the Beanstalk


Barnes and Noble has reprinted several volumes of children's stories with illustrations by Margaret Evans Price.  They are still available at their stores or online.  Here are some book covers from that series:


Included here are some examples of illustrations that were part of the Art Nouveau era or have artistic qualities that are similar to that style of art:

Aubrey Beardsley

Kay Nielsen

Walter Crane

Arthur Rackham

 Ivan Bilibin



  1. I love these wonderful illustrators too... spare, clean lines for Margaret Evans Price, and of course, the art nouveau illustrators had such a superb design sense- decorative yet dynamic. I love all of your examples.

  2. The Hamlet illustration above is not by Beardsley— although it looks as if it could be. It is from a 1922 edition with illustrations by John Austen.