Index: Blanche Fisher Wright

Blanche Fisher Wright

At this point, I read to my daughter from The Real Mother Goose mostly as an excuse to pour over the illustrations by Blanche Fisher Wright. Elegant and utterly charming, they sit shoulder to shoulder with the work of the great turn-of-the-century illustrators like Edward Penfield and Jesse Wilcox Smith (Philly’s own, Smith, born in Mt. Airy, studied at PAFA under Thomas Eakins and Howard Pyle at the Brandywine School) But what really captivates me about her work is the degree to which, stylistically, they recall the work of Art Nouveau masters like Alphons Mucha. They share the regal faces, flowing outlines, graphic crispness and posterlike composition. What transforms them into bewitching illustrations is her wonderful animating sense of gesture and flair for scene staging. Given her skill and achievement, her complete anonymity is surprising. Other than a few basic illustration credits, no biographical information exists online. She is absent from Walt Reed’s comprehensive Illustrator in America survey. Although The Real Mother Goose remains in print and easily available, Blanche Fisher Wright, at least for now, seems a near to complete mystery.