Frances Lockwood Brundage (1854-1937) was a noted illustrator of children’s books. She illustrated over 200 books during her career, in addition to her work on postcards, valentines, prints, trade cards and calendars. Her works were published by several companies including Raphael Tuck & Sons, Samuel Gabriel Company and Saalfield Publishing, among others.
Rip Van Winkle: A Tale of the Hudson, as illustrated by Brundage, was published in 1927 by the Saalfield Publishing Company of Akron, Ohio. The 92-page book contains 62 illustrations, including 17 full page illustrations, depicting various scenes from the classic American short story by famed author Washington Irving. Full page illustrations included:
Brundage was born on June 28, 1854 in Newark, New Jersey. Her ancestors were long established in the United States, and were noted patriots, it being estimated that 195 of her father’s ancestors fought in the American Revolution and another 23 ancestors having fought in the Colonial wars.
Her father, Rembrandt Lockwood (b. 1815), was an architect, engraver and painter of church murals. Rembrandt was perhaps most associated with his large work, measuring 17 feet by 27 feet, titled The Last Judgment, “a work of nine years, which was commenced in Germany, where he resided for four years, and completed in Newark, N. J.” Rembrandt married Sarah Ursula Despeaux (1820-1907), who passed away in 1907 at 87 years of age after a three-year struggle following a stroke of paralysis.
Brundage never attended art school, but began sketching at the age of four. She received much of her informal art training from her father. She began her professional career in her teens when she sold a sketch illustrating a Louisa M. Alcott poem to the author.
“Her start as a professional artist was made when she was in her teens. Like most girls, she had a favorite author. The honors in this case went Louisa M. Alcott. One day the aspiring young painter purchased a poem written by Mrs. Alcott – made a folio of it and illustrated it. With much trepidation, she sent the finished work to the writer, asking “if she had caught the idea.” The answer was – Mrs. Alcott bought the illustrations.” (Leigh, Virginia. “Anyone Can Paint Who Will Observe.” Brooklyn Daily Eagle. August 2, 1931.)
In 1931 the Brooklyn Daily Eagle published a full-page profile of Brundage, including insights into her background, her career and her thoughts on art.
“The loneliness that is so terribly feared by every human being bereft of relatives at the twilight of life holds no such terror for her. Drawing has always been her whole existence. Every waking moment has been filled either with thinking about it, studying it or working at it. She has no need for human relations. She can create with just a few strokes of her pencil a compatible companion that will liven up any dreary moment. The cataract that threatened to blind her turned out to be just a threat. “I would not want to live two minutes,” she said, “if I could not draw.” It is characteristic of Mrs. Brundage that her idea of heaven is a haven for artists where paint, pencils, brushes and time are always in abundance. “I would prefer to go to the bad place down below where I could do little things if in heaven they would not permit me to draw,” she emphatically declared . . .
If this talented woman has a pet theory it is that she can teach any one to paint just by making them learn to observe the little things that happen in normal everyday living. She believes that discerning observation will help even a grocery clerk, and that success is totally dependent on having trained one’s self to watch everything that is going on. She bases this theory on the common knowledge that eighty-seven percent of understanding is gotten through the eye, eleven percent through the ear and two percent through the other senses.”
During more than 50 years as a commercial artist, she illustrated all of Louisa M. Alcott’s books, and many others including “A Child’s Garden of Verse,” “Rip Van Winkle,” “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” “Mother Goose Rhymes,” “The Pied Piper of Hamelin,” “Black Beauty,” “Robinson Crusoe,” “Treasure Island,” “King Arthur,” “Arabian Nights” and several of Shakespeare’s plays. She also wrote and illustrated four books for children including “The Adventures of Jack,” “What Happened to Tommy,” “Boys and Girls Around the Country,” and “Little Maids.”
Brundage was married to William Tyson Brundage (1849-1923), a well-known marine artist. He was one of the original members of the Salmagundi Club, an art organization in Manhattan that was founded in 1871 and is still in operation today. William and Frances had one child, Mary Frances Brundage, who passed away at 17 months of age in 1891. William passed away at his home in 1923 following a stroke of apoplexy. His last painting was of an old Dutch fishing boat.
Brundage considered Brooklyn to be her home town, although she had also lived in Washington, D. C., and spent the summer months at Cape Ann, Massachusetts for many years. Frances Brundage passed away at her home at the age of 83 on March 26, 1937 after having heart trouble since the prior December. She is buried at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. At the time of her death, she had just completed a children’s textbook on art called “It’s Fun to Draw.
For more information on this notable artist, see the book titled A Bit of Brundage: The Illustration Art of Frances Brundage by authors Sarah Steier and Donna Braun. For more information on the genealogy of Frances Brundage, through her father Rembrandt Lockwood and back to the Lockwood ancestors who fought in the American Revolution, see History of the Lockwood Family in America by Frederic A. Holden and E. Dunbar Lockwood.
See all the Rip Van Winkle illustrations by Brundage on the gallery page >> Rip Van Winkle, Gallery 2.