Maxfield Parrish’s most prestigious and recognized illustrations were published during the early 20th century for the children’s book The Knave of Hearts, written by Louise Saunders. Saunders was the wife of famed Scribner’s Sons editor Maxfield Perkins. Perkins commissioned Parrish to complete this series at the height of his career, a time when Parrish’s illustrations were displayed in one out every five American homes. Parrish had asked his good friend William Jennings Bryan for permission to paint his grandchild, Kitten Owen, as the model for images of Lady Violetta. Parrish completed 26 illustrations for Knave of Hearts, using many of his own household items as props. This last series of illustrations is known as Parrish’s greatest collection of work. The Owen family was rumored to have purchased The Lady Violetta and the Knave. However, this piece later appeared in Parrish’s estate, sold by his son, Maxfield Parrish Jr., during the end of his father’s life. The artist was known to keep his most prized works close to him in his home, approaching his death in 1966 - including The Lady Violetta.
"M.P" Signed Lower Right. Verso: "Maxfield Parrish, Windor, VT. 1924" (in white paint) Also: In upper left hand corner (in black ink) "This is to certify that this is an original Maxfield Parrish painting painted for the Knave of Hearts [signed] Maxfield Parrish, Jr., April 24, 1976"
Also in the artists hand (in white paint)...."The Knave of Hearts. The Lady Violetta and the Knave of Hearts open the oven foor to see if the tarts are done."
Gilbert, Alma M. The Make-Believe World of Parrish and Sue Lewin. Pomegranate, 1990
Gilbert, Alma M. Maxfield Parrish: The Masterworks. Tenspeed Press, 1992, 1994, 2001
Gilbert, Alma M. Maxfield Parrish: Master of Make Believe, Trust for Museum Exhibitons. Exhibit Catalog. 2005-06
JVJ Publishing, Jim Vadeboncoeur; The Vadeboncoeur Collection of Images, Palo Alto, CA. Issue#13, Fall 2014
Scott and Fowles Galleries, NY, NY. 1925
Vose Galleries, Boston, MA. 1976
La Galeria, San MAteo, CA. 1977
Maxfield Parrish Museum, Plainfield, NH. 1978
La Galeria, San Francisco, CA 1984
Alma Gilbert Galleries, Burlingame, CA, 1992-1993
Simic Galleries, Beverly Hills, CA 1993
Alma Gilbert Galleries, Burlingame CA 1994
Cornish Colony Museum, Cornish, NH 1998
National Exhibition of Maxfield Parrish: Society for the Four Acts 2005-2006
Parrish House Museum, Plainfield NH 2009