1950's Retro Illustrations - Watkins Hearthside Cookbook Retro Kitchen Decor
|Appetizers and Soups Section Illustration from Watkins Hearthside Cook Book|
|Watkins 1952 Retro Illustration Cheesehead and Egghead|
|Watkins Hearthside Cookbook Recipe Page with Fisherman|
A little history of Watkins and the Hearthside CookbookI'm happy to report Watkins Incorporated is still in business, since 1868, and on the web; so many old US companies I write about are not. Headquartered in Winona, Minnesota, they still sell spices, extracts, and baking products; and sell all natural bath and body, health related items and cleaning products. What I didn't know was they originally were a door-to-door company. Today, you can purchase Watkins products via direct sales on the web or in big box stores such as Whole Foods and Target. Independent representatives "brokers" remain a core part of their business plan; offering unique sizing and a slightly different product line. If you'd like to learn more about the company Wikipedia has a concise post about them which you can read here Wikipedia.org/wiki/Watkins_Incorporated or check out the company history on their web site (linked above).
The first Watkins cookbook (I was able to find) was published in 1938 and was not illustrated. It has been digitized by Google and is available here Watkins 1938 Cookbook on Google Books. However, their most beloved cookbook is the 1952 edition prized for it's illustrations as well as great recipes. When food blogger are blogging about it, you know it's good! Authored by Ruth Robbins a Watkins home economist, it sold for $2.50. It is copyrighted and included in the Library of Congress LC 53016180. The cookbook I have appears to be a first edition.
Take a look at these funky, fun, retro illustrations!
|Crying Chef - Watkins Hearthside Cookbook Illustration & Recipe Page|
|Watkins 1952 Hearthside Cookbook Baked Beans Recipe Page with Illustration|
|Little Devils Cooking - Watkins Hearthside Cookbook Illustration and Recipe Page|
While Ruth Robbins was credited for her work, all the fabulous classic 1950's graphic illustrations go uncredited. WHAT!?! The detective in me wanted to find the illustrator, and so my search began. While searching 1950's illustrations and illustrators I found the 1948 James Beard's Fireside Cook Book illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen. Hmm. Take a look at the Provensen's Fireside Cook Book illustrations.
|Dancing Retro Housewife - 1950's Watkins Hearthside Cookbook Illustration and Recipe Page|
|Mixer Illustration - Watkins Hearthside Cookbook|
|Lighthearted take on Rajasthan Art - Vintage Illustration from Watkins Hearthside Cookbook|
To say the James Beard cookbook was an influence on the Watkins cookbook would be an understatement. After my research, I truly believe Alice and Martin Provensen created all the graphic illustrations for the Hearthside cookbook also. Uncredited possibly due to contractual agreements associated with illustrating Beard's cookbook. There were other prominent illustrators during the 1940's and 1950's which I researched who had similar illustrations, BUT with notable differences in style. Alice and Martin Provensen's work has a distinct style. So, that's my theory and I'm sticking to it.
|Retro Oriental Chicken Illustration - Watkins Hearthside Cookbook|
Who would want to tear a perfectly good copy of a cookbook apart for the illustrations? According to the Antique Trader Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide, published in 2014, the Watkins Hearthside Cook Book value ranges between $34.00 and $61.00. You can find copies for sale on eBay for over $180.00 (at the time of writing) with the dust jacket; but the average price on Etsy is between $20.00 and $30.00 without the dust jacket (which folds out into a poster). To answer the question "Who would want to tear apart a perfectly good vintage cookbook?" the answer would be, no one <er ah> me. I've done the dirty work for you! Ha!
Retro Kitchen Decor
Democratic Kitchen ArtI knew I wanted to keep the pricing "democratic"and offer a custom piece. So I've done all the leg work and the production.
If you have ever had custom framing done you know how expensive it can be. I wanted to offer you original pages matted for under $20.00 dollars delivered. And I have, the ready to frame matted illustration cost $17.00 delivered. I worked with Ron at the Matstofit shop on Etsy to create the custom mattes for the first 12 Watkins Hearthside Cook Book page illustrations listings offered. Ron was great to work with, ships quickly and has an outstanding product. If you are looking for custom mattes and frames he's your go to guy on Etsy. These matted original illustrations are fab and ready to ship.
Here's the details of the dimensions and your framing options.
- The original recipe page and/or illustration page is matted to fit a regular 8 x 10 frame or an 8 x 10 Format Frame.
- Because I read the reviews on Format Frames, particular attention was paid to ensure you get a good (albeit snug) fit in a Format Frame as the interior dimensions run a little small.
- Eight x Ten Format Frames run about $4.00 at the big box stores making this affordable kitchen art or gift. Each one is an original page, not a reprint or scan.
- The actual size is just under 8 x 10 and will fit in a standard 8 x 10 frame.