March 21, 2022

Women of The Golden Age of Illustration: Elenore Abbott, By Amanda Bergloff



The Golden Age of Illustration is a term applied to a time period (1880s - 1920s) of unprecedented excellence in book and magazine illustrations by artists in Europe and America. Advances in technology at the time allowed for accurate and inexpensive reproductions of their art, which allowed quality books to be available to the voracious public demand for new graphic art.

When many people think of the Golden Age of Illustration, Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac, and other male artists come to mind, but there were also female artists that excelled during this time.

Elenore Abbott was one such artist that produced exceptional work, so learn a bit more about her and her art below...

Elenore Plaisted Abbott (1875 - 1935) was an American painter, book illustrator and scenic designer and was one of the first women to illustrate Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in 1907.

Elenore was born in Lincoln, Maine in 1875 and went on to study art at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. She continued her education in Paris, France, at the Academie des Beaux-Arts where her art was exhibited. When she moved back to Philadelphia in 1899, she attended the Drexel Institute and was greatly influenced by artist, Howard Pyle, who was an instructor of hers there. During her career, Elenore produced illustrations for Harpers Magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, and Scribner's Magazines, as well as creating illustrations for books, such as Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Swiss Family Robinson, Louisa May Alcott's Old Fashioned Girl, Alice in Wonderland, and Grimm's Fairy Tales, among others.

A critic at the time, Evan Nadel Wolf, is quoted as saying in 1919 that, "Elenore Abbott loves her fairy tales, and no child who receives such a book will be disappointed..."

Elenore was also among a group of "New Women" - women who were freed from Victorian limitations, able to live and support themselves and be competitive in painting and illustration, which were artistic areas traditionally dominated by men. The field of illustration was one of the first business areas where some women even were able to earn more than men.

In her private life, she married lawyer and artist, C. Yarnell Abbott in 1898 and had a daughter, Marjorie, in 1907. The family moved to Rose Valley, Pennsylvania in 1911 where they lived until Elenore's death in 1938.

Elenore has come to be known as one of the most prolific illustrators of the Golden Age. Her art is beautifully fanciful with an enchanting use of color in her compositions.

Check out her work below:

The Two Brothers, 1920
Earthmen, Come Up, 1920
The Shoes That Were Danced to Pieces, 1920
Six Swans, 1920
The Beauty & The Beast, 1910

The Two Brothers, 1920
The Sleeping Beauty & The Prince, 1910
Book Cover, 1912
Indigo Dreams, 1910
The Wild Swans, 1920
"Now & Again I Stumbled"
from Treasure Island, 1911
Cinderella, 1920
from Alice in Wonderland, 1916
from Alice in Wonderland, 1916
The Mermaid1922
Briar Rose, 1910

EC's contributing editor, Amanda Bergloff, writes modern fairy tales, folktales, and speculative fiction. Her work has appeared in various anthologies, including Frozen Fairy Tales, After the Happily Ever After, and Uncommon Pet Tales.

Instagram: amandabergloff 

Also, join her every Tuesday on Twitter for #FairyTaleTuesday to share what you love about fairy tales, folktales, and myths.
Also, if you like sharing your #vss fairy tales on Twitter, follow @fairytaleflash
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Article Resources:

– Elenore Abbott Art: Wikimedia Commons

– Elenore Abbott,

– Elenore Abbott, Wikipedia

– Hub Pages, Elenore Abbott

Blog of an Art Admirer, Elenore Abbott


Angelika said...

These are lovely! Thank you so much for sharing them.

Willow Croft said...

I remember some of this art from when I was a kid. And I have a spinning wheel just like that... :-)