Little is known about the personal life of Emma Florence Harrison (1877–1955), an English artist known for her romantic, Pre-Raphaelite style. Even the years of her birth and death (either 1925 or 1955) are disputed. There is however some information on her working life. I hope you enjoy this window into her career as an illustrator!
Florence worked professionally as Florence Harrison. She may have had a formal art education. One source said that she attended the Glasgow School of Art where Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Herbert MacNair, and Margaret & Frances Macdonald studied. It is documented that she exhibited her art at the Royal Academy in London from 1887 – 1891.
In 1905, Florence’s career as an illustrator began with a commission from Blackie and Sons. The publishing house hired her to illustrate a children’s book entitled Rhymes and Reasons. The book was so well received that she was commissioned to do another entitled The Rhyme of a Run. Florence’s work was featured in numerous books thereafter — including books written by the likes of Christina Rossetti, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and William Morris. According to one source, she received £100 (approximately £8500 or $1400 at today’s values) for In the Fairy Ring. There is no record that she was ever married, so it is likely that she made a living through her career as an artist and illustrator.
You can find a number of online sources featuring her illustrations from publications including:
- Rhymes and Reasons (1906)
- The Rhyme of a Run – 21 plates (1907)
- In the Fairy Ring – 24 plates (1908)
- Poems of Christina Rossetti – 36 plates (1910)
- Dream of Fair Women and Other Poems by Tennyson – 8 plates (1910)
- Tennyson’s Guinevere and Other Poems – 24 plates (1912)
- Elfin Song: A Book of Verse and Pictures – 12 plates (1912)
- Early Poems of William Morris – 16 plates (1914)
- Tales in Rhyme and Colour – 23 plates (1916)
- Tinkler Johnny by Agnes Grozier Herbertson (1916)
- Poems by S. Ferguson – 4 b & w plates (1916)
- The Man in the Moon and Other Verses (1917)
- The Pixy Book – 12 plates (1918)
- House of Bricks by Agnes Grozier Herbertson – 4 plates, 20 b & w (1918)
- Godmother’s Garden by Netta Syrett – 4 plates (1920)
- Beautiful Poems (1923)
- Light of Love
If you want to look into collecting one of the books she illustrated, I would suggest that you take a look at what is available on ebay. It also appears that original works sometimes come up for sale through auction houses (although be warned that they may be upwards of $10,000). More of her illustrations are included below!