Monday, January 11, 2016

LITTLE PICTURES OF JAPAN Drawings by Katharine Sturges

LITTLE PICTURES OF JAPAN is a book originally published in 1925. It was edited by Olive Beuapre Miller with drawings by Katharine Sturges. It's not hard to find in large part because it was reprinted many times.

I was on the second floor of a rather large house that had been converted into an antique shop. There were hundreds of books up on the second floor. This was the one that I saw and it really spoke to me. I mean, Katharine Sturges' illustrations really got to me.

They are at once simple and show a great knowledge of anatomy and draping. More than that: they are wonderfully composed and colored. Just take a look. She's the reason the book was reprinted I'm sure.

Katharine Sturges was born in Chicago in 1890. From the Cooper Hewitt site:

Sturges traveled to Japan to study art and became deeply influenced by Asian design, something that would continue throughout her career. She became a children’s book illustrator, designed greeting cards and commercial illustrations, and fashions for Harper’s Bazaar. She was commissioned by Macy’s to travel to South America and design jewelry and fabrics based on her visit to Peru.

She married a World War One pilot, Clayton Knight, and was later known as Katharine Sturges Dodge. Her husband was an illustrator and writer, and the two of them worked on books and fabric designs. Their son, Hilary Knight, would go on to create the famous ELOISE series of children's books. "[H]e says that his most famous image of Eloise was inspired by one of his mother's paintings," according to Wikipedia.

Here are a few photos of the book and its illustrations that I took in that store with my phone of those wonderful drawings by Katharine Sturges.

Flickr page

1 comment:

Paul Giambarba said...

Check out her husband and Hillarie's dad, Clayton Knight at

Wiki has him as a student of Robert Henri in the same sentence as the Art Institute of Chicago, but in reality he was a classmate of my mentor Harold Irving Smith at the Art Students League in NY, where Henri taught. In 1917 Harold joined the Navy and Clayton went to fly with the British only to be shot down and become a POW. Like all kids my age I was a big fan of Clayton's WWI airplane drawings. I believe he had his own Sunday color feature with one of the syndicates.