It's a Family Affair
Let Carl and his family serenade us into the holiday season!
As we enter the season of family-focused festivities, there's no better time to celebrate the bonds of family! In our world of vintage illustrations, you can discover a variety of creative connections within our catalog: parents and children, siblings, and even husband-and-wife artist teams! Let us showcase some of these artistic relationships, where art and kinship intertwine to create something truly magical!
Louise Clasper Rumely (1893–1979) is fondly remembered for the cherub-filled illustrations that graced Swan Soap ads during the 1940s and 1950s and her charming baby paper dolls from the early 1960s. Beyond her own creative accomplishments, she nurtured the artistic talents of the next generation. Her daughter, Janet Susan Rumely (1925-2021), inherited the family legacy of artistry, and she carved her unique path in the realm of creativity. Janet's artistic journey began in 1939 when she enrolled in New York's High School of Music and Art. Louise and her husband later relocated to Kerhonkson in upstate New York, where she continued to illustrate for various creative projects. Janet chose to stay in upstate New York with them, living for the rest of her life in the same farmhouse she moved into at the age of 19. Sue's distinct mid-century style, characterized by delightful winter and holiday scenes, has earned her a prominent place in our Christmas Collection! Her art continues to evoke a sense of warmth and nostalgia during the holiday season. This artistic lineage, spanning generations, forms a rich tapestry of creativity, from cherub-filled ads to charming holiday illustrations.
Could this cozy winter scene by Janet Sue Rumely have drawn inspiration from her shared family home with her mother, Louise Clasper Rumely?
Percy Tarrant (1881-1930) was a distinguished British illustrator celebrated for his role in the Golden Age of Illustration. His meticulous attention to detail and his ability to depict historical and romantic scenes left an indelible mark on the world of illustration. Percy's father, a bookbinder, played a pivotal role in shaping the Tarrants' careers in book illustration. Percy's medium of choice was oil painting, heavily influenced by realism. Notably, he collaborated with esteemed authors such as Emile Bronte and Louisa May Alcott, creating captivating cover illustrations for literary classics like Wuthering Heights and Little Women. This artistic legacy extended to his daughter, Margaret Tarrant (1888-1959), an esteemed English artist nurtured in an artistic environment. Growing up surrounded by art, Margaret's work was more fantastical, in keeping with the era's indulgence in the British public's interest in fairies. Her mediums of choice were watercolors and colored inks. Margaret's creative journey began with Christmas cards, postcards, and calendars, but it truly flourished with enchanting book illustrations. She is best known for her exquisite work on The Water Babies (1908), where her artistic prowess breathed life into the story's magical world.Together, Percy and Margaret Tarrant have left an enduring influence on the world of art, a testament to the remarkable Tarrant family's artistic legacy.
The Holy Family by Margaret Tarrant to celebrate families in general! It's one of her religious pieces that we've adapated into Christmas cards.
Miska Petersham (1888-1960) and his wife, Maud Fuller Petersham (1890-1971), were a remarkable creative duo who left an indelible mark on the world of children's literature and illustration during the mid-20th century. Hungarian-born Miska Petersham immigrated to the United States, where he embarked on a prolific artistic journey in the vibrant hub of New York City. He and Maud met while working at the International Art Service (IAS), a graphic design firm in New York City. In 1917, they moved to Greenwich Village in New York City and obtained their first children's book work through Miska's Hungarian friend Willy Pogany. Together, they produced illustrations for more than 120 trade and textbooks, anthologies, and picture books, showcasing their incredible versatility. Their collective portfolio included iconic works like Carl Sandburg's Rootabaga Stories (1922) and the Caldecott Medal-winning book The Rooster Crows (1945), serving as quintessential examples of their ability to capture the essence of childhood in America. Maud, with deep American roots traced to generations of Rhode Island Quakers and descendants of the Mayflower's physician, complemented Miska's journey as an immigrant to the United States. Their art was renowned for its technical excellence and vibrant use of color, enriching young readers' understanding of diverse cultures and traditions.
The Petershams' legacy endures through the enchanting and thought-provoking illustrations that continue to grace the pages of beloved children's books, providing a window into the wonder and diversity of the world.
Ida Rentoul Outhwaite (1888-1960) was an Australian fairy tale legend, renowned for her enchanting illustrations that continue to captivate generations of readers. Her incredible talent breathed life into worlds filled with fairies, goblins, and magical creatures, often inspired by the Australian bushland. Her artwork, celebrated for intricate details and a profound sense of wonder, held the hearts of both children and adults. Importantly, her influence transcended individual projects, as she frequently collaborated with her sister, Annie, and later with her husband, Grenbry, creating a rich tapestry of fantastical art!
Annie R. Rentoul (1882–1978) was an exceptionally talented lyricist, children's poet, and story writer, as well as a philologist and educator. She taught classics, including Greek, Latin, and Ancient History, at the Presbyterian Ladies' College. In collaboration with her sister Ida Rentoul Outhwaite, they created many fairy books. Most notably The Little Green Road to Fairyland (1922), a masterpiece that seamlessly melded Annie's enchanting storytelling with Ida's mesmerizing illustrations. Their harmonious blend of words and art wove a magical narrative, cherished in their native Australia. The impact of their fantastical creation was so profound that it was adapted into a musical of the same name, showcasing the enduring charm of their collaborative talents!
In 1909, Ida married Arthur Grenbry Outhwaite, who transitioned from being an attorney to a prosperous businessman. Grenbry's financial support facilitated the publication of the sisters' beloved Elves and Fairies (1916). He became not only a patron but also a collaborator, contributing his writing talents to several of her books, most notably The Enchanted Forest (1921), The Little Fairy Sister (1923), and the magical Fairyland (1926), which all three, Ida, Annie, and Grenbry, contributed to! Their artistic partnership extended further when their children—Robert, Anne, Wendy, and William—became models for Ida's enchanting illustrations, adding a deeper layer to the family's rich creative legacy.
A heartwarming portrayal of a fairy mother and child, likely influenced by Ida and her husband's joyful life raising their four children, shines through their artistic collaboration!
An equally captivating artistic connection lies in the younger sister of the celebrated architect Frank Lloyd Wright: Maginel Wright Enright Barney (1881-1966), born as Margaret Ellen Wright on June 19, 1881, and affectionately called "Maggie-Nell" by her family. She left an enduring artistic legacy as an American illustrator, particularly in the realm of children's literature during the early 20th century. Her journey in the world of art began as she moved with her mother to Chicago to be closer to her brother as he established his architectural career. In Chicago, Maginel had the opportunity to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1897 to 1898, which provided her with valuable training. Her remarkable talent for producing high-quality illustrations in children's books set her apart, shaping the visual narratives of her time and enchanting readers of all ages. She illustrated 63 children's books during her lifetime, notably contributing to some of L. Frank Baum's non-Oz work, often alongside John R. Neill. Maginel also lent her artistic skills to textbooks, primarily designed for young readers, cover designs for prominent magazines of her era, and the creation of patriotic posters during World War I. Her artistic influence transcended generations, as her daughter Elizabeth Enright grew up to become a Newbery Award-winning children's book writer and illustrator. The legacy of creativity and artistic talent persisted in the Enright family, leaving a lasting impact on the world of literature and illustration!
This is just one of many magazine covers Maginel created for Woman's Home Companion and other notable magazines of her time.
This commitment to family and artistry echoes the legacy of our dear friend, founder, and for some of us, a cherished family member, Harold Darling. Under the pen name Welleran Poltarnees, he was not only a published author but also a compiler and editor of children's books. Alongside his wife, Sandra Woodward Darling, known to the world as Alexandra Day, he co-founded Green Tiger Press in 1970, which notably became the very first publisher of the beloved Good Dog Carl series of children's books! Their mission was to reintroduce the exquisite illustrations from out-of-print children's books to new generations of readers. In 1993, when they relocated to Seattle, they established Laughing Elephant, a creative haven that continues to be an enduring source of inspiration. Today, we're a small, family-run business based in Seattle, led into the next generation by Chev Darling, their son. Our cozy workspace in the Fremont neighborhood is where we create the majority of our products, drawing inspiration from Sandra and Harold's extensive collections of vintage books and ephemera, numbering in the tens of thousands! Supported by our dedicated team, including two Darlings and cherished friends, we're committed to delivering top-notch customer service. Many of our customers, whether retail or wholesale, have become like family to us, adding an extra layer of warmth and significance to our journey as a small, local, family business.