No one would argue that Beatrix Potter is one of the most beloved and well-know Storybook creators of all time. However, during the time of her writings there were countless other marvelous artists and writers creating books, board games and greeting cards, people we rarely recognize. To honor these unsung artists, I plan on introducing their wonderful work in a few posts which I will stagger over the next few weeks. I think it is about time that the works of these illustrators and writers have a revival and receive more credit for their contributions to Children's Literature.
All the illustrations you see on this post are by the artist ERNEST ARIS
Let me start with an Artist that actually had a connection to Beatrix Potter. In 1916 when Beatrix Potter, (who by that time wished to be known by her married name of Mrs Hellis) was in her 50's, and suffering from diminished eyesight. She found that her painting skills were marred by this sad fact. Her niece had written a story and Beatrix began a search for just the right illustrator to fulfill the mission of illustrating this story, in a way that Beatrix P. imagined it should be.
By post, she contacted the Illustrator Ernest Aris. Mr Aris was a prolific artist in his own right.
Submitting rough sketches, color ideas and the Name of the Book, "The Oakmen", to Mr Aris, B.Potter kept her identity a secret as well as the PLOT of the book... But she did ask that he use the style of Beatrix Potter, from the book "Jemima Puddleduck".
Mr. Aris claimed he was unaware of such a book, to which Beatrix Potter took great offense!
She did purchase 6 illustrations that he created for her. Although first pleased with his work, she eventually decided to shelf the paintings he provided thinking them too bold, the colors too bright and not at all in her style. She decided to illustrate the story herself.
But she never did
As an artist myself, I can certainly not imagine being asked to illustrate in someone else's style, so it hardly seems fair that he would be expected to fulfill her wishes to a tee. Not to mention the fact that Beatrix referred to him as a "Second String " artist and said "his animals are not good". I have to disagree with that, I LOVE his animals.
So, what do you think? Is this an artist that should have had more recognition? I believe so.