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Elizabeth Orton Jones (1910 - 2005)

Lot 1640: Circa 1953 Elizabeth Orton Jones Original Artwork from "The Velveteen Rabbit"

Mastro Auctions

October 25, 2007
Burr Ridge, IL, US

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Although she is also recognized as an artist of etchings and a muralist, Caldecott Medal winner Elizabeth Orton Jones (1910-2005) is best known for her lifetime of work in the field of children's book illustration, credited with over 20 different works, several of which she wrote as well. She first studied at the University of Chicago before going on to earn her diploma from the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, France, in 1932. Jones has penned in block letters within the lower border of this pencil and watercolor on paper work, "VOL. I FIRST STORY BOOK - 'THE VELVETEEN RABBIT'," identifying the piece as having been created for Spencer Press' 1953 hard cover publication of The Children's Hour; First Story Book (Volume I), which included Jones' illustrations for Margery Williams' classic 1922 children's tale. Measuring 10-3/8" x 13-3/4" in size, this pencil and watercolor on lightweight illustration paper work depicts the final scene of the story, when the velveteen rabbit, now a real bunny, comes back to visit the fully recovered boy in their favorite spot in the woods. Glue stains from a former mounting appear across the reverse of the original and also appear along the top inch of the front and to a similar dimension along both of its sides. These stains do not affect any other area of the painting and are very pale in coloration. (There is no loss of paper anywhere and no other effect to the large image area can be seen.) Jones has signed her painting within the lower left corner of the image. The back displays a penciled reverse image of most of the boy and some of the trees that hints Jones may have originally intended the work to face in the other direction before deciding otherwise.

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