Baby Owl (unique ceramic plate with drawing)
Aspen, CO: Valley Kilns, n.d.
Original work. 11.5 inches (diameter). Very good condition, with no chips or other flaws. Item #4116
Garth Williams, the illustrator of Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web, the Little House series, and many more beloved books for children, began his career as a fine artist. Though he was born in New York, and spent his early childhood in New Jersey and Canada, his English parents moved the family to London when he was ten years old. After initial studies in architecture, he attended the Royal College of Art in London, where he won a British Prix de Rome for sculpture.
Returning to the United States after World War II, he found major success as an illustrator through his work on the books of E.B. White, Margaret Wise Brown, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Russell Hoban, and dozens of others, including many books in the Little Golden Book series. Animals in general, and baby animals in particular, appear throughout his illustrations.
This undated ceramic plate, with an original drawing of a baby owl is — as far as we can tell — entirely unique in the artist’s output. It was created as a gift for Lucille Ogle (1904–1984), vice president of Western Publishing and one of the creators of the Golden Books series. Williams writes in a letter (cited in Garth Williams, American Illustrator: A Life, by Elizabeth and James Wallace), that “but for Lucille Ogle, I would never have worked for Golden Books.”
A unique memento of an important relationship.