- 1894–1925 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
29 cm of graphic material (477 photomechanical prints)
Name of creator
Emily Louise (Orr) Elliott (1867–1952) was a Canadian commercial artist and painter of landscapes and floral still lifes. Born in Montreal, she studied in the 1880s at the Ontario School of Art in Toronto (now the Ontario College of Art and Design University), the Art Students’ League in New York City and the New York School of Art. Emily Louise Orr married physician John Ephraim Elliott (1858–1940) in Toronto in 1893; they had one son, Leighton Henry Elliott (1894–1947).
Emily Elliott worked in fashion illustration in Toronto probably between 1900 and 1930. As a painter, she also exhibited with the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (1898–1910) and with the Ontario Society of Artists (1899–1925), and was appointed in 1895 to the Canadian National Exhibition art committee, on which she served for 33 years. She was associated with the Art Museum of Toronto (now the Art Gallery of Ontario) in its earliest years and in 1918 and 1919 she participated in organizing exhibitions of pictures for children at the Museum. As an illustrator of women’s clothing designs, she created newspaper advertisements for the Toronto star, drawings for the Robert Simpson department store catalogue and fashion posters.
Before and during her career, she assembled a collection of the work of other illustrators published in books and magazines, chiefly from the 1880s to 1920s, a collection she gave to the Art Gallery of Toronto (now the Art Gallery of Ontario) in 1925.
Emily Elliott was a member of the Toronto Women’s Press Club (from 1912) and the Heliconian Club.
She died in Toronto in 1952. Her paintings and drawings are in the collections of the City of Toronto Market Gallery, the Toronto Public Library and the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa, Ont.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Series comprises 477 magazine covers, predominantly from early 20th-century issues of fashion magazines such as Vogue, Vanity fair, Harper’s bazar (after Nov. 1929, Harper’s bazaar) and The delineator. Series also includes a small number of covers from general-interest periodicals such as Collier’s and The Saturday evening post, art magazines such as Shadowland, and other magazines, issued chiefly in the United States and Canada. The covers feature the art of over 80 named illustrators, chiefly American artists. Often fanciful, the images provide colourful illustration of Art Nouveau and Art Deco design in the period, primarily in women’s clothing, and include the work of prominent magazine illustrators Helen Dryden, Erté, Anne Harriet Fish, C. Coles Phillips and George Wolfe Plank. The techniques used to create the cover designs were predominantly drawing and painting, although two 1913 covers for the magazine Dress and Vanity fair are illustrated with uncredited photographs. Advertisements for automobiles, cosmetics, clothing and household products appear on verso of the covers. Some files include duplicate items or the same cover image from different editions of a magazine.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
No further accruals are expected.
System of arrangement
Files in this series containing two or more magazine covers and files containing matted covers are sorted alphabetically by artists’ surnames or pseudonyms. Artists represented by one magazine cover (i.e., a single sheet not mounted in a mat) are grouped in one file at the end of the series, as are covers by unidentified artists. Locations for matted covers in the files that follow are indicated by box numbers. (Covers not mounted in mats are shown in box-folders.)
Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
Open. Access to Special Collections is by appointment only. Please contact the reference desk for more information.
Conditions governing reproduction
Various copyright holders. It is the researcher’s responsibility to obtain permission to publish any part of the collection. Permission of the Art Gallery of Ontario is required for publication.
Language of material
Script of material
Language and script notes
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related units of description
Source of title proper:
Title based on the contents of the series. File and item titles are chiefly based on the displayed text on the magazine covers and consist of the artists’ names, monograms or pseudonyms as they appear there. Titles for artist files of unsigned covers are taken from the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog and from online publishers’ records for creators of these items. Titles of files cumulating creators of single illustrations (not in mats) and illustrations by unidentified artists are based on their contents.
Conservation: In 1985, 57 of the magazine covers in this series were matted for exhibition.
Items this series were exhibited in 1985–1987 at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto and elsewhere in the province in the exhibitions Fashion Covers: 1910–1925 (1985–1986) and Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar Fashion Covers: 1910–1925 (1986–1987).
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Description control area
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Dates of creation revision deletion
Originally prepared in 2015