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First Women Illustrators of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam: 13 Short Videos

February 7, 2023

Danton O’Day has sent us information about his latest work on the early artists who illustrated Edward FitzGerald’s Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. This time he has focused on the women illustrators who were among the most important such artists of the period from the late 1890’s to the 1920’s. Danton has produced a series of entertaining short videos which introduce the work of these very varied illustrators. The ensemble of 13 videos provides an excellent summary of the artistic work of the period. Our congratulation to Danton on this unusual initiative. He writes about it below.

Edward FitzGerald’s translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam is one of the most famous and most illustrated collections of poetry. From 1899 to 1929, thirteen women each revealed their personal visions of the verses using line-drawings, photographs and paintings. This and other work revealing the amazing talent of each artist is presented in 13 short and relaxing YouTube videos by Danton H. O’Day on his DantonCanada YouTube Channel (

Here are the individual artist video links:

Blanche McManus (2:35)—McManus was the first woman to illustrate the Rubaiyat. She published two books with different sets of Illustrations.

Florence Lundborg (1:50)— Using art deco style images, Lundborg illustrated the second Rubaiyat by a woman.

Jessie M. King (1:40)—A multi-talented artist, King did four, line drawings to present a gentle vision of selected verses.

Adelaide Hanscom (2:43)—Hanscom was a photographic trailblazer producing the first US book illustrated with photographs and the first book featuring male nudes.

Evelyn Stuart Hardy (1:28)—A prolific artist, Hardy used exquisite Persian-themed paintings coupled with simple line drawings to interpret the verses.

Marie Préaud Webb (1:36)—Webb illustrated many books using line drawings. For the Rubaiyat, Webb did four full page drawing reflecting the Persian era and locale.

Alice Edith Ross (1:16)—A painter who left little historical evidence, Ross produced dynamic paintings reflect the life & times of Omar’s Rubaiyat.

Isabel Hawxhurst Hall (1:33)—Hall produced an impressive Rubaiyat illustrated with 18 charcoal images that reflected the Egyptian popularity at the time.

Mabel Eardley-Wilmot (1:27)— Using 38 unique, often manipulated, images, Wilmot was the 2nd photographer to illustrate the Rubaiyat.

Doris M. Palmer (1:18)—Palmer painted 12 full-page vivid watercolours, that reflect the Middle Eastern locale and era, to illustrate the Rubaiyat

Anne Harriet Fish (1:52)—An extremely multitalented artist, FISH did 19 Rubaiyat illustrations ranging from brightly coloured to sombre providing a unique interpretation of the content of the verses.

Hope Weston (1:17)—Weston’s 8 unique and compelling images not only provide an exciting view of the poetry they also required an explanatory forward to set the stage.

Cecil Gwendolen Trew (1:50)—An historically well documented and talented artist, Trew produced 25 monochrome illustrations bringing the poetry and its Middle Eastern location to life.

So, the next time you’re thinking of clicking on another cat video (really?), try one of these and see what women artists were doing at the turn of the last century—you’ll be happily entertained and enlightened!

Danton H. O’Day, 2023


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