Sunday, August 23, 2015


Virginia Lee Burton was born on August 30, 1909. We know her today as the author and illustrator of beloved children's books about anthropomorphized machines and objects:
...Mary Anne the steam shovel...

...Katy the snow plow...

..and The Little House, which was always my favorite. 

Illustration from "The Little House"
Her full-color illustrations are masterpieces.
Illustration from "Choo Choo"
But like so many illustrators from those earlier generations, she was also a master of black and white techniques. 

Another way of describing black and white work is as "one-color" art---the artist is working with just one color on the working surface.
Burton's skill in working with one color is evident in her other absorbing artistic interest, print-making---an interest with which her readers might not be familiar. In this design we can see a resemblance to her illustration work.

This print is more stylized, and we would not know, unless we had been told, that it was work by the same artist.

Burton did much of her print-making on cloth, and her interest in this field led her to found the Folly Cove Designers, in Cape Ann, Massachusetts. This group worked together from 1938 to 1969, creating prints that were executed mainly on fabric. Burton died in 1968. Since the group disbanded the following year, it leads me to conclude that it was her energy that kept the group together and active for all those years.

The links below will give you more about Virginia.

1 comment:

  1. "The Little House" is my favorite of her books, too. But I also love her asterisk note, in Mike Mulligan, where she gives a young boy credit for his solution to the story. That always made me think she was a generous person. Thanks for this post!