I’m teaching at Haverford College this year. Not many famous people went to Haverford, a very small school, but one of them was Maxfield Parrish. Known mostly for his wistful, romantic paintings which make for popular calendars.
I never much cared for his work until I saw his illustrations for children’s books.
I really like his illustrations, which are funny and well crafted without being over sentimental like his paintings. He seems to have gotten his start making illustrations as a student, where he added pictures of fantasy creatures to his chemistry lab reports:
The artist and illustrator Maxfield Parrish attended the College for three years. Among Parrish items owned by the Library is a notebook containing descriptions of thirty-three chemistry experiments carried out between February 7 and May 23, 1890, as well as a preliminary outline of laboratory procedures and equipment. In addition to the written text, done in india ink, many of the experiments are illustrated with fanciful and highly decorative watercolor and ink drawings. These illustrations range from small head and tail pieces to double page representations of experiments being carried out by elfin lab assistants.
If you ever visit the Haverford Library ask if you can take a look!