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Library Installation

View of a Cottage in Rye, Sussex (?)
View of a Cottage in Rye, Sussex (?), c. 1895
Violet Oakley, American
Watercolor on wove paper
Sheet: 9 7/8 x 7 inches (25.1 x 17.8 cm)
Gift of Nora D. Zahn, 1978
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Violet Oakley and the Red Rose Girls: Female Illustrators in Philadelphia
February 28–June 2, 2017

Violet Oakley, Elizabeth Shippen Green, and Jessie Willcox Smith were three prominent Philadelphia illustrators known as “The Red Rose Girls.” They met in the 1890s while studying with the influential artist Howard Pyle at the Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry.

Pyle would go on to form the Brandywine school in the early 1900s and educate many female students. Oakley became known for her murals and stained-glass projects while Green illustrated children’s books and publications such as Ladies’ Home Journal, The Saturday Evening Post, and Harper’s Magazine. Smith—one of the most prominent female illustrators in the United States during this period—contributed to many books and magazines. She was well known for her illustrations of Mother Goose, Little Women, and A Child’s Garden of Verses, among others.

This installation is drawn from the Museum’s collection of the Library and Archives with some additional pieces from the department of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs. It complements American Watercolor in the Age of Homer and Sargent, an exhibition on view in the main building through May 14. American Watercolor also includes works by the Red Rose Girls.

The Library Reading Room, second floor, Perelman Building

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