Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday Mieography

Starling Burgess was born i 1915 in Boston Massachusetts. She was named after her father, who, an avid admirer of the book War and Peace, had her re-christened as Natasha. Being a mouthful, that was soon shortened to Tasha. Her father was a yacht and airplane designer, and her mother was a portrait painter. They were not wealthy, but they were well placed in Boston society, including in their friends such varied persons as Abigail Adams, Mark Twain, and, John Singer Sargent.
When she was nine, her parents were divorced, and her mother moved to Greenwich Village to pursue her painting career.As this was not a place for child rearing during this time, she was sent to Redding, Connecticut to live with friends, and spent the weekends in NYC with her mother. She later said that this was one of the best things that ever happened to her. Her 'Aunt Gwen' would write plays, and she and her friends would act them out. She loved living in the country, and dreamt of the day she would have her own farm. She eventually took her mother's last name as her own, and became known as Tasha Tudor.
She went to school, but never made it through the 8th grade, preferring to draw instead of study. After finishing her schooling (or lack of), she began to spend her winters in Bermuda with her mother and aunts, where she actually taught nursery school/ She later moved on to studying at the Boston Museum Fine Arts school, but she says her mother taught her more. She decided she was meant to be an illustrator.
She met her husband, Thomas Leighton McCready, Jr. in 1936, and they were married in 1938. She wore her great grandmothers wedding dress. They tried farming for a few years, but her husband, whom was brought up in a New York suburb, was not suited for farm life. He encouraged her to send a portfolio of her work to publishers in New York, and Boston. She was not fond of writing, but did write, mainly so that she would have something to illustrate. Her first book was called Pumpkin Moonshine. It got turned down many times, until, Oxford University Press decided to take a chance on it. Her career took off. She illustrated a Mother Goose book, which won many honors. By this time, she'd began having children with her husband, and with the royalties from Mother Goose, she bought a decrepit farm house in New Hampshire, which had no electricity, no running water, and no heat, with the exception of wood stoves. She continued on, having a total of four children. She loved country living, and was especially crafty. She enjoyed basket making, spinning, weaving, and making dolls and marionettes. She lived as self sufficiently as possible, growing their food, and making the clothing for her children.
She continued to illustrate books during this time, including five of them written by her husband. They did eventually divorce, however, and she remarried Allan John Woods.
Her favorite book was one called Corgiville Fair, and it is the only book where she kept all her sketches and colored originals intact. She was known for her love of Welsh Corgi's, and soon had one of her own.
In total, she wrote and illustrated 30 books, and illustrated another 41 books, including Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott, The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame, and The Secret Garden by Frances H. Burnett, just to name a few.
In her later years, she toured the country, giving speeches at libraries, colleges and museums. She died, recently, on June 18, 2008. She leaves a legacy, with her artwork, certainly, but also in the fact that both of her daughters are accomplished authors and illustrators.


Jo Beaufoix said...

What a fantastic woman. I loved that. :D

Daryl said...

Love this Mieography .. I am sure having read many of those books that I know her illustrations .. going to Google her and learn more.


Mimi said...

I love Tasha Tudor. May her Memory be Eternal.

sybil law said...

I love Tasha Tudor! This really was a good one!

david mcmahon said...

Thank you for highlighting the life of an amazing woman.

Bubblewench said...

WOW! Very interesting woman!

holly said...

wow! how very cool!!

what a very different world it was then, eh?