Coles Philips frontispiece for "Peacock Feathers" (1924): rare, beautifully framed antique


"She was leaning against one of the trees"
     Frontispiece: Peacock Feathers
​​     by Temple Bailey.
     Illustration by Phillips, Coles
     Philadelphia. The Penn Publishing Company. 1924    

    Image Size: H 7.00” x W 5.25”
    Matted & Framed:  H 15.00” x W 13.00”
    Framed Price: $175.00  
    Whiteglove handling and shipping: $25.00 

CP met John Ames Mitchell in 1907. Mitchell had co-founded Life magazine with Andrew Miller in the early-1880s. He was the magazine’s publisher, it seems, because he owned the majority of its stock. Two decades before, Mitchell had purchased a sketch by an unknown artist named Charles Dana Gibson. By 1907, Gibson had become Life’s star illustrator. Perhaps Mitchell saw similar star potential in CP’s work. In any case, he offered the young artist a place on Life’s art staff. CP accepted and contributed artwork to the magazine through the rest of his life.

While working alongside of the man who created the “Gibson Girl,” CP developed his own “girl." Philip’s imaginative “Fadeaway Girl” appeared magically within a page’s colorful background. He began experimenting with this design technique in 1908 and continued to use it until his untimely death in 1927.

CP also created covers for other magazines, including Collier’sLibertyVogue, and Woman’s Home Companion. For two years beginning in 1912, he was the sole cover artist for Good Housekeeping. He produced several of his most popular Fadeaway Girls during this period.

In addition to being a talented designer, CP was a gifted graphic artist who was able to portray characters who were both stylish and affluent. It is not surprising therefore that he created advertisements for manufacturers of luxury items. Among them were Apollo Chocolates (1923), Bulova Watches (1926), flatware manufacturer Oneida Community Plate, and Palmolive Soap.

Since he was busy creating covers and advertisements, CP did not produce many book illustrations. His frontispiece for Peacock Feather is therefore remarkable. Perhaps he did it as a favor to the author.

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