Thursday, June 8, 2017


Though I was very familiar with her visual work, I did not know the name of this American illustrator, Maginel Wright Enright, until doing research for June's illustrator birthday. And I was surprised to learn that she was the sister of the architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Women's Home Companion
Enright was born on June 19, 1881, and died on April 18, 1966. She was a very productive illustrator, creating images for advertising...
...women's magazines...and educational publishers.

Her first venture into children's book illustration was for the series "The Twinkle Tales", which were written by Laura Bancroft.

From "The Twinkle Tales"---I don't know which volume
Laura Bancroft was in fact a pen name for Frank Baum, the author of "The Wizard of Oz" books! Another surprise as I researched this illustrator.

Enright's style matured as she went on to illustrate more than 60 books for children...

...including editions of "Hans Brinker, or, The Silver Skates"...

...and "Heidi".

The Market
Not all of her work was done in full color. This piece was created with just 3 colors, black, orange, and blue---the use of limited color being the custom for much of illustration during her time. The 3 colors are used together in varying percentages to create a palette with a variety of hue and strength.
An Enchanted Conversation
Enright's work certainly reflects the illustration styles popular during the early 1900's...
Babes In The Woods---created with just 2 colors, blue and black
...the years when she was producing most of her work.
  But Enright was no copyist or slave of fashion. Her work is strong, skillful, timeless, with a wonderful and easily recognized personality. Like many women artists, she is relatively unknown today. Let's honor her by looking for her illustrations as we browse used book stores, antique shops, and online auctions!


  1. Wendy, thank you so much! Some of these images gave me a frisson of memory--especially the Hans Brinker picture. I must admit I had never heard of her, nor did I realize that F.Lloyd Wright had such a well known artist for a sister. Fascinating.

    1. Thanks, Liza. "The English Journal", put out by the National Council of Teachers of English, in 1912 called her "one of the very best artists for children." Though she is not well-known today.

  2. I certainly recognize her work and can think of illustrators, such as Lizbeth Zwerger, who were obviously influenced by her style. It may be dated in some ways, but totally modern in others. Thanks for all this new info!

    1. Enright certainly has much to offer in the way of influence and inspiration to contemporary illustrators. Thanks for your comment!

  3. Wonderful to learn......the work so familiar and yet I was so unaware! Yes- however possible we can all now celebrate her properly when the opportunity arises.
    Meg Henry is here- we were thinking about you last night as we sat telling stories. Wish you were here too.

  4. Oooh, I LOVE her illustrations, and know many of them well! Though the name is not familiar to me–nor did I know that Frank Baum had a nom de plume! Thanks for highlighting this fantastic artist, Wendy! You could put together a compilation of all of these posts you make into a lovely book about children's authors and illustrators. Just an idea!

    1. Thanks, Caitlin! I have thought of doing just such a book project as you describe. The hesitancy is whether such a book would sell enough copies to warrant its publication. And it would require much deeper research than I put into these posts. Would require lots of time and money for travelling around to collections! Though it would be fascinating.

  5. Well, it would be a fascinating project for sure, and how fun to travel around to look at collections! One never can know ahead how many copies will sell of Any book, for sure. And Amazon is a great way to promote and sell, too. You might even do a fund-raiser to gather up enough $$ to do your research. I say go for it!