Thursday, December 29, 2011

Booked for a Knight

I'm always wary when something is described as being an original book illustration, yet the name of the book isn't mentioned. A well-known artist such as Hilary Knight, the celebrated illustrator of the Eloise books, should have book print runs in the many thousands, so exactly how obscure can the illustrated book containing this image be? Or is this rather an intended book illustration that, for whatever reason, was never to be published? This lot was offered at Illustration House in their December 10 sale.

Δ Lot 67
Hilary Knight

Mother reading to children; child winking.

Book illustration;
Watercolor and pencils, 10 x 16.5" in two scenes, signed lower left

Estimate: $3,000 - 5,000

Condition - Fine overall: archivally matted and framed.

December 30, 2011 Update:   Reader Kellie Strøm writes in today's comments section that Hilary Knight has a predilection for archway compositions on his book covers. He presents these two examples:
Hilary Knight, The Jeremy Mouse Book, 1969

Hilary Knight, The Twelve Days of Christmas, 1981

I find this a persuasive argument that this book illustration was, in all likelihood, intended as a book cover. That would make the idyllic drawing of the swing the book's front cover and the impish lone winking child the back cover.

Note:  Hilary Knight's poster featuring Eloise for New York is Book Country is in my post here.



  1. He's fond of archway compositions for covers. Other examples here and here.

  2. True enough, Kellie. Thanks for sharing these examples.