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Depart in Peace, Tasha Tudor

Tasha Tudor, Children’s Book Illustrator, Dies at 92

Published: June 20, 2008

Tasha Tudor, a children’s illustrator whose pastel watercolors and delicately penciled lines depicted an idyllic, old-fashioned vision of the 19th-century way of life she famously pursued — including weaving, spinning, gathering eggs and milking goats — died on Wednesday at her home in Marlboro, Vt.

She was 92, if one counts only the life that began on Aug. 28, 1915. Ms. Tudor frequently said that she was the reincarnation of a sea captain’s wife who lived from 1800 to 1840 or 1842, and that it was this earlier life she was replicating by living so ardently in the past.

Tasha Tudor shaving splints from a log on her Vermont farm in 1977.

One of my own favorite books, not the least reason
being because of her magical illustrations…

For 70 years her illustrations elicited wide admiration: The New York Times in 1941 said her pictures “have the same fragile beauty of early spring evenings.”

Ms. Tudor, who could play the dulcimer and handle a gun, once promised a reporter for The Times that she could find a four-leaf clover within five minutes and came back with a five-leaf one in four minutes. She kept a seven-leaf clover framed in her room.

She told The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk in 1996 that it was her intention to go straight back to the 1830s after her death.

Additional story from the New York Times here.

According to the website her family has created in her memory, she once said,
“Einstein said that time is like a river, it flows in bends. If we could only step back around the turns, we could travel in either direction. I’m sure it’s possible. When I die, I’m going right back to the 1830s. I’m not even afraid of dying. I think it must be quite exciting.”

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  • June 22, 2008, 3:07 pm Mama Kelly

    I never gave a thought to the identity of the illustrator of the lovely images in my own copy of The Secret Garden. To discover her only at news of her passing is very sad to me.

    May her soul move on to the destination of her choosing.