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    Description

    Jessie Willcox Smith (American, 1863-1935)
    Happy Christmas to All, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas interior book illustration, 1912
    Watercolor and ink on board
    7-1/2 x 28-3/4 inches (19.1 x 73.0 cm) (image)
    Signed lower left: Jessie Willcox Smith

    PROVENANCE:
    The artist;
    Henrietta Cozens;
    William Gribbell, acquired from the above;
    John Gribbell III, gift from the above, December 25, 1940;
    By descent to the present owner.

    LITERATURE:
    C.C. Moore, 'Twas the Night before Christmas, Boston, Massachusetts, 1912, pp. 12-13, illustrated.

    Heritage is pleased to offer, for the first time at auction, "'Twas the Night before Christmas," by Jessie Willcox Smith. Part of a private collection for almost 60 years, the imagery by Smith in this iconic story shaped our modern views of Christmas in America.

    While studying at Drexel under renown illustrator, Howard Pyle, artist Jessie Willcox Smith met fellow artists, Elizabeth Shippen Green and Violet Oakley. The three women, equal in talent in many ways, shared other mutual interest and immediately formed a bond outside of the classroom. They arranged to all live and work together by renting a small inn in the suburbs of Philadelphia. The trio dubbed themselves "The Red Rose Girls," after the Red Rose Inn, where they lived.

    Contemporary artist Anna Lea Merritt also chimed in, stating in Lippincott's Magazine, that "The chief obstacle to a woman's success is that she can never have a wife... It is exceedingly difficult to be an artist without this time-saving help." (from "A letter to artists, especially women artists," Lippincott's Monthly Magazine, v. 65, Jan- Jun, 1900, p. 463-469) Through this unique living arrangement, the women were able to successfully work and live with the help of another friend and close companion of Smith's, Ms. Henrietta Cozens. Pyle, a strong advocate of women artists, once famously quipped when a woman married, "that was the end of her." (A.A. Carter, The Red Rose Girls: An Uncommon Story of Art and Love, New York, 2000, p. 44)

    In this sense, Cozens took on all "spousal" duties for all three women artists living at the Red Rose Inn: cleaning, cooking, gardening, and any other chores around the house. One can surmise that the success of the group and the well-being of the women at the Inn was due, in part, to Cozens' loyalty and care. Although the Red Rose Girls eventually went their separate ways, Cozens and Smith continued to live together until Smith's death in 1935.

    Jessie Willcox Smith's art work appeared in magazines, books and calendars. Soon she was sought out to do illustrations for ads for Ivory Soap, Kodak and Quaker. Smith's art work appeared in such periodicals as Ladies Home Journal, Harper's, Century and Leslie's Weekly. She also did illustrations for Little Red Riding Hood, Heidi, and of course, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.


    More information about Jessie Willcox Smith, also known as Smith, Jessie Willcox, .

    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    Framed Dimensions 13.25 X 24.5 Inches
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2021
    5th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,099

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $300,000 (minimum $49), plus 20% of any amount between $300,000 and $3,000,000, plus 15% of any amount over $3,000,000 per lot.

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