Edith Scannell

Edith Scannell was a painter and book illustrator active in the 1880s through about 1905. She seems to have enjoyed including Japanese dolls in her portraits of children.






NORA: this painting of a little girl in white with a European teaset, a Japanese doll (and others, one of which looks Chinese), in front of an oriental-looking potted plant, was engraved for inclusion in print media of the time. I found the engraving in a gift book for children called Hop o' My Thumb which includes a couple of long illustrated stories. One of them, "Tramp and Trinkets Abroad", tells of a little girl's trip around the world, including a visit to Japan and a chance to see the Hina Matsuri or Girls' Day doll display. The Scannell image does not correspond however to any of the narrative (there is no girl named Nora) and seems to have been included simply to add value to the book. Very likely it was published in magazines or other books with a more formal explanation.

Below: Two more paintings by Scannell, showing children in white with a Japanese doll in red. The same doll, a classic cheap boy ichimatsu, may have been used in both paintings and in Nora. The painting on the left is called "Looking at a Ladybug" and seems to have an intrinsic interest as a picture of a cute child. The picturre of the two children in Japanese dress, however, is more suggestive of a portrait. As with "Nora," there is a combination of Japanese ambiance with a Western teaset.

This charming pastel by Scannell was sent to me by Richard Asplen. Here the model is very young and the doll she clutches is smaller and dressed differently from the dolls in the images above. .