Posted for: Lisa Kruczek, Summer 2012 Digital Library Intern.
Recently I had the opportunity to scan a lovely book from the Joseph McGarrity Collection, housed at Villanova University’s Digital Library. Published in 1900, “Elementary-Brush Strokes” by Elizabeth Corbett Yeats is an explanation of the process and merits of teaching the painting of foliage to young children. Yeats uses a dabbing technique that she assures the reader will work with most types of plants. She emphasizes the importance of children working from real flower arrangements which she suggests gives a better understanding of color and form. The book includes beautiful full color plates of her examples of flowers, plants, birds and fruit, with explanations for each plate of colors chosen and technique. Included is a materials list and instructions of how to adapt the paintings included for other flowers and plants.
The introduction mentions the next book in the series, “Brush Work Studies”, but it is not in Villanova’s collection, nor have I been able to find it anywhere else. I did find a reference to “Elementary Brush Strokes” in another book printed by her publisher, George Phillip & Son, Ltd. as part of an advertisement of Educational Publications (although it looks to be the revised 1905 edition which included the addition of some photographs). Yeats was the daughter of Irish artist, John Butler Yeats and after teaching art, went on to study printing and became a successful printer. She printed many of the works of her famous brother, William Butler Yeats