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Helen Jacobs BWS (1888-1970)

Helen Mary Jacobs, BWS (1888-1970)

Talented in both draughtsmanship and watercolour painting, Helen Jacobs soon established herself as a children’s illustrator. Though best known for the precision, energy and imagination of her early fairy subjects, she responded well to a variety of commissions; and, as a primary teacher, she seemed an ideal interpreter of textbooks and primers.

Helen Jacobs was born in Ilford, Essex, on 10 October 1888, the daughter of the wharf manager, William Jacobs, and his second wife, Ellen (née Flory). The youngest member of the family, she had four half-siblings, the eldest of whom was the popular writer, W W Jacobs, and four siblings. She spent her childhood in Stoke Newington, London, at addresses that included 112 Manor Road (by 1891) and 3 Paradise Row (by 1901).

Jacobs studied under Arthur Legge at the art school of the West Ham Municipal College. While there, in 1910, she contributed a box, painted with characteristic fairies, to the National Competitions of Schools of Art, which was illustrated in
The Studio.

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Subject Category

Fairy & Fantasy
Animal Characters (1)
Elves & Pixies (1)
Fairies (2)
Santa Claus / Father Christmas (1)
Witches & Wizards (1)

Book Covers & Jackets (1)
Children's Literature (4)
Fairy Tales (7)
King Arthur (7)
Myths & Legends (7)

Farm Animals (1)
Horses (3)
Monkeys & Apes (1)
Sheep (1)

Hobbies & Pastimes
Reading (1)
Scouts & Guides (1)
Shopping (1)
Walking & Rambling (1)

Boats & Ships (1)

Childhood (4)

Life Events & Traditions
Christmas (1)

Herbs & Spices (1)

Medieval (7)

Royalty (1)

Specialist Area