June 26, 2008

Tasha Tudor

Tasha Tudor died last week at the age of 92. I have been in love with her illustrations since I was a little girl, and I still am.

She illustrated about 100 books, some of them authored by her. But even if you think you have never heard of Tasha Tudor, you are probably familiar with her art if you have read "The Secret Garden," "A Little Princess," and Robert L. Stevenson's "A Child's Garden of Verses."

Interestingly enough, Tasha Tudor did not live in the time period she recreated through most of her art. In fact, about 10 years ago, I was surprised to learn that she was still alive. I had assumed she would have died long before I was born considering the world represented in her illustrations.

She born in 1915, but was so fond of the 1830's that she spent most of her life creating that world around her. She raised her 4 children in a farm house in New England with no electricity of running water.... on purpose. She cooked on a wood-burning stove, wove her own fabrics, made candles and soap, and dressed in the style of the early 19th century.

Her most recent home was built in the 1970's (by her son, using hand tools), but looks like something from 1830's, and is filled with antiques from the period.
I especially love her book "A Time to Keep." I enter a dream world each time I read it.
I was so pleased to find it still in print, and snapped up a copy for myself (my parents' old copy is very worn and tattered because of me, I'm sure).
(an illustration from "A Time to Keep")

Sadly, this book, "The Dolls' Christmas" is longer in print. But as soon as I can find an affordable copy in decent shape, it will be mine. (I'm sorry, but $25 for a copy in "poor condition" is simply not acceptable.)

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