Diana Thorne, Canine Artist Part I
DIANA THORNE WAS born Ann Woursell on October 7, 1895 in Odessa, Russia though it is widely reported she was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The oldest child in a family of four girls and two boys, Thorne was raised on a farm near Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She started drawing dogs as a young child and went on to become one of America’s most recognized canine artists.
Her family left Canada for Germany around 1912 where Thorne took her first formal art studies at the Imperial Academy in Munich and Charlottenburg Technical College in Berlin.
Unfortunately, the First World War began two years later and as a Canadian citizen, Thorne and her family were detained by the German government. They managed to escape to England where Thorne supported herself as a reporter, librarian, writer, bicycle shop owner, and typewriter repair person.
At this time she began her first experiments in both illustration and etching and studied with artist William Strang.
In 1917, Thorne moved to the United States. Her first published etching, titled Rollin’ Home, was well received in 1926 and from this point she became an established artist, taking on commercial artwork in New York City in 1929.
In her private life, she was known as Mrs. Arthur North, with a residence in Philadelphia. The pseudonym “Thorne” originated from an anagram of her husband’s last name. There is also evidence that she may have been the wife of artist Carton Moore-Park (1877-1956).
As the author-illustrator of more than forty books and illustrator of more than fifty, her main reason for success was a total dedication to her drawing and a deep love for her subject matter.
A sportswoman and owner of dogs herself, Thorne illustrated (and often authored) children’s books dealing with dogs and animal life. Thorne’s longtime publisher was the Saalfield Publishing Company of Akron, Ohio, once a leading publisher of children’s literature and paper novelties.
In her etchings of dogs, Thorne had the ability to show motion and action. A combination of whirling lines with solid lines and light and dark tones brings to the viewer’s eyes the dog in motion.
Thorne’s dog etchings are admired because they capture the humor and energy transpired by man and dog.
Reprinted by kind permission of author Frank J. Leskovitz.
© Frank J. Leskovitz. All Rights Reserved.
You can add a vintage collectible Diana Thorne book to your library or illustration for your wall here.