Gingham clad children frolicking in an abundant garden. A large family excitedly gathered around a blazing Advent wreath. A panting Corgi dog eagerly scampering after a flitting butterfly. Each of these delightful scenes has one very important thing in common: they are the creations of the late and much beloved author and illustrator Tasha Tudor.
Tasha Tudor redefined children’s’ literature with her sweet illustrations of children and animals, both subjects which were very dear to her. Over the course of her life, Ms. Tudor illustrated many books, some of which she had written herself, many Advent Calendars, several paintings, beautiful Christmas cards, and pretty stationary. Her books have continuously attracted throngs of admirers, both young and old, as each one depicts lovely and simple lifestyles of a bygone era, brightly colored illustrations, and a subtle warmth of family love and childhood innocence.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Ms. Tudor’s life and works is the fact that she not only chose to paint her subjects in the time frame of the 1830’s, but she also lived her own life in a way that was as true to the 1830’s as she could possibly make it. Ms. Tudor lived on a picturesque farm in the mountains of Vermont, in a house which was built without the use of modern tools. The house was surrounded by the things which Ms. Tudor loved the most: thriving flower and herb gardens, corgi dogs, chickens, cats, goats, and wildlife. She also lived self sufficiently, creating her clothes, food and necessities entirely by hand and from scratch.
Ms. Tudor was extremely adept at creating all things beautiful and intricate. She hand sewed magnificent dolls complete with detailed wardrobes, incredibly lifelike marionettes and puppets, and she kept an amazingly lifelike world of miniatures in her fully stocked doll’s house which housed Ms. Tudor’s beloved Captain Thaddeus Crane and his women, Melissa and Emma. What caused her books and drawings to stand out so much to the world was most definitely the fact that the wholesome and charming world which she portrayed in them did not only exist in her lively imagination. Ms. Tudor actually lived in the world she painted. It was as though she had waved a magic paint brush around herself, thus ensconcing herself in a world not seen or understood by many in the fast paced world which we now all live.
It is sad indeed that Ms. Tudor has now left life on earth and is no longer here to create soothing masterpieces, or to inspire a watching and admiring world who wonder how to cope with life without all the excess work which Ms, Tudor saw to, such as spinning and weaving the material for the clothes which she hand sewed. However, we have fortunately been left a legacy of many beauteous and captivating works of Ms. Tudor’s to enjoy for generations to come. Since she is now sadly deceased, Ms. Tudor’s work has understandably skyrocketed in value and price. Book lovers everywhere are in hot pursuit of Ms. Tudor’s work, if only just to escape through her heavily ornamented pages into a world which she alone understood and loved deeply.
The wonderful books which Ms. Tudor left behind are as diverse and varied as the activities which she diverged in. From her adorable children’s stories such as Pumpkin Moonshine, Becky’s Christmas, and Corgiville Fair, to the inside glimpses of her life in Tasha Tudor’s Garden, The Private World of Tasha Tudor, Tasha Tudor’s Heirloom Crafts, and Tasha Tudor’s Dollhouse, to name just a few of her treasures, there is sure to be something from Ms. Tudor’s heart and paint brush which will endear even the most stickling rare book collector.