The amazing Sheilah Beckett

Back in the mid fifties, 1954 to be exact, I was rummaging around in an old magazine store one day when I came across a children’s book called “The Twelve Dancing Princesses”. The book measured only 61/2” X 8” in size and was published at that time by Simon & Schuster aptly called ‘A Little Golden Book’. But what struck me about the book was the illustration on the cover. The exquisite and graceful lines combined with the soft feathery colors were a joy to behold. I was charmed and captivated by the sheer beauty by this fine illustrator. I later found out that the illustrator’s name was Sheila Becket who was married to another well known illustrator, J. Frederick Smith. During her early days as an illustrator, Ms. Becket was the first woman asked to join the Charles E. Cooper Studio which solely consisted of male illustrator’s. A prolific illustrator she’s worked on Magazine covers, advertising, greeting cards, paperback covers, record albums and even murals. But she’s better known and loved for her children’s books and stories on fairy tales. During her long career she illustrated more than 70 books. For most of her life she work traditionally but now she works with the computer and has been illustrating in Photoshop with a Wacon Tablet. With the help of her son, Sean Smith, Ms. Becket has ventured into the field of print-on-demand self publishing. Her book, The Six Wifes of Henry the VIII is available in hard or soft cover at She also sells a limited signed and numbered beautiful color or black & white prints suitable for framing. I highly recommend these and her book. Anyone interested can contact her son Sean at his website; Sean has also set up a Facebook Fan Page, The Art of Sheilah Beckett. So treat yourself to more of Ms. Beckett’s wonderful illustrations.
Did I mention that Ms. Becket is 97 years young? To describe her as ‘amazing’ would be an understatement.

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