Wednesday, May 16, 2012

William Meade Prince - Some Biographical Info

By Guest Author Tony Gleeson

William Meade Prince was born in Roanoke, VA in 1893, grew up and would later reside for much of his life in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.


He studied at the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts 1913-1915, and upon winning a contest sponsored by Collier’s Magazine, embarked upon a career as a magazine and book illustrator.


He painted no less than 48 covers for The Country Gentleman magazine-- published by Curtis Publishing as a companion publication to the Saturday Evening Post-- from 1924 to 1940. He also created numerous interior illustrations for the Post, Collier’s, and other publications.

Thanksgiving Pie

He worked quite effectively in that popular cover style so well plied by Rockwell, Leyendecker and so many others-- expertly-painted, humorous, human-interest themes, quintessentially American--


... but for some reason he did not remain in the public consciousness like some of his more celebrated contemporaries.


He was obviously a highly talented painter and draughtsman, and I have no idea why he developed his particular technique with graphite and white gouache on toned paper.


Perhaps it was a way to set himself apart from the crowd?


I may never learn the answer, but he certainly did succeed in doing so.


Prince was head of the Art Department at the University of North Carolina during the Second World War and produced drawings and posters in the war effort.


He also illustrated the newspaper comic strip "Alladin Jr.," written by Les Forgrave, in 1942 and 1943.


(The last bit of info comes from, which is always a treasure of a resource).

Continued tomorrow.

* Tony Gleeson is a freelance illustrator. Since 1974 he has created finished art for the book, editorial and advertising industries as well as character design and concept art for gaming, film, television and theme parks. He lives in Southern California.

* The original full colour art scan in today's post is courtesy of Heritage Auctions


  1. How about
    "Yesterday's Inspiration"?;-)

    Was just wondering if something like this just exists today.

    Probably yes, under reversed circumstances.

  2. As I teach a Clothed Figure Drawing course, i look at these and just marvel, subject matter notwithstanding. Elegant draftsmanship with great simplification and editing of value patterns. AND I bet it was a heckuva lot faster to do these than a full out oil painting. A good illustrator could have paid a lot more bills that way.

  3. The choice of tan paper (and it was tan, even when they reproduced it in green, or whatever) had the same function of Leyendecker choosing canvas with light grey primer. It's the same value as an average (caucasion) flesh tone, so using only two pencils (white and black) you can very efficiently give the impression of a whole range of values, and a lot of objects, including flesh between the shadows and highlights can be left out of rendering altogether.

    The University of North Carolina has a huge collection of Prince's work.