Wednesday, July 14, 2010

More Treasures from Sheilah Beckett

Sheilah Beckett's son Sean Smith writes, "Dave Smart, the editor of Esquire, was a big fan of my mother and father's work and thought - as my mother was doing children's book work - she would be a natural for a holiday cover."

(You can see the name of Sheilah's husband, J. Frederick Smith, listed in the cover's sidebar among that issue's art contributors)

I asked Sean if this cover was an important one in Sheilah's career and he replied, "Yes it was an important piece at the time. She also had my brother over her left shoulder as she worked on the piece (him then being only a few months old)."

It struck me that such a high-profile assignment must have impressed potential clients and perhaps resulted in Sheilah getting more advertising projects (which was, of course the proven successful strategy at the Charles E. Cooper studio, where Sheilah was represented).


Sean wrote back, "my mother was getting work on a weekly basis through Cooper's. She feels she was getting a lot of the work because the men were off in service and not available."


Of course Sheilah's true passion was for story book illustration, which she was doing all the while as well. Below, three originals from Grosset & Dunlap's, "The Big Picture Mother Goose Book" which Sheilah illustrated in 1957.



Sean wrote, "We went through a trunk and came up with some even earlier work - some my mother didn't even remember doing, I will get them scanned and send them along too."

I know I won't be alone in saying we're really looking forward to that - many thanks to Sean and Sheilah!

* If you're a fan of Sheilah Beckett's artwork, why not join the Sheilah Beckett Facebook Fan page? There you'll see many other examples of Sheilah's work and have the opportunity to correspond with her directly.

* My Sheilah Beckett Flickr set.


  1. Beautiful work, very graceful. What a treasure, and thanks to Sean for sharing.

  2. Thanks Leif, Sean and Sheilah for the wonderful finds in these new posts!

  3. I'm an immediate fan! Lovin' ALL of her stuff, but the children's work is VERY choice!

  4. Chad Sterling4:07 PM

    Sheilah's facility for line and tone was demonstrated yesterday, now we see her use of color was equally skilled.Not just in the use of bright primaries but also in sophisticated color schemes using pastels and neutral hues.This, to my eye, is great design.

  5. Wow, fantastic work. I wish I could handle gouache (I'm assuming it's gouache) half as well.

  6. Jeff K8:59 PM

    Wow man,this stuff really kicks ass.Did someone mention that Sheilah is in animation these days? What a career!

  7. I have loved this site for a long time, string after string of great artists, but Sheila Beckett's work is the first that has inspired me to comment.

    Totally brilliant...

  8. Gorgeous. Thanks, so much.

  9. Truly beautiful artwork. Somebody should do a big full-color book on Sheilah Beckett.

    Printing quality has improved so much since most of these works first appeared that it would be like seeing them for the first time.