Martin B. Ellis
Harry Roseland Knox Gelatin Print
Here is some further information on Harry Roseland's painting for Knox Gelatin.
The painying was entitled "The First Lesson." The original hung in Mr. Knox's home, and the Knox Gelatin Company reproduced it in limited quantities in the size of 20" x 27" (unframed). Users of Knox Gelatin could acquire the print beginning in 1905 "by sending ONE empty Knox Gelatin box and 10 cents in coin or stamps to cover cost of packing and mailing."
The company's advertising of this offer recited that "if these [prints] were on sale in the art stores they would cost at the very least $5 each."
So sure was Knox that its customers would love the print, the Company offered the following: After receiving the picture, if you are not entirely satisfied with it, return it, and your 10 cents will be refunded by next mail. Address, Art Department, KNox's Gelatine, Johnstown, N.Y., U.S.A."
Interestingly, I guess Knox did not send back the empty Gelatine box. I cannot imagine they had very many returns.
[Information Source: 1905 Knox Gelatin Trade Card picturin the Harry Roseland print on the front and "AN EXCEPTIONAL OFFER to the Users of KNOX's GELATINE" on the reverse side."
Martin B. Ellis
Harry Roseland Advertising artworks
To Anyone Having a Harry Roseland Artwork Advertising Either Knox Gelatin, Magic Yeast Powder, or any other product:
The Knox Gelatin Print: What you have is a 1901 print produced on canvas-like heavy stock paper by Knox Gelatin as an advertising give-away that was made from the original painting by Harry Roseland that hung in the corporate offices of the Genessee Foods Company, which made Knox Gelatin.
I used to own this piece myself, as a dealer and collector of antique advertising.
The Magic Yeast Print: I also owned a companion piece to the Knox Gelatin Print, smaller in size by a third, also painted by Harry Roseland, which was an advertising give-away for Magic Yeast Powder. That painting, circa 1910, showed the same "Grandmotherly" black woman and a teenaged blonde girl (as if the "Knox Gelatin" girl with the strawberries in your piece had become a teenager) at a table with the caption "Don't Worry, Honey, You'll Marry Money."
The paintings themselves were classic Harry Roseland subjects for their time.
In case you are wondering, virtually our entire antique advertising collection was disbursed in a number of auctions some years ago when my ex and I divorced. I have been looking for these Roseland pieces ever since. If you ever come across the Magic Yeast print, please let me know.
As you might know, quite a number of great American artists and illustrators made a living early in their careers and even throughout after becoming well-known, by advertising art. These included not only lesser known figures such as Harry Roseland, but artist such as Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish, N. C. Wyeth (Andrew Wyeth's father), J. C. Lyendecker, Hamiton King, etc.
Anyway, for those of you who have either of these Harry Roseland prints, I hope you enjoy yours as much as I did.
Martin B. Ellis
Martin B. Ellis, Esquire
Shumaker Williams, P.C.
40 West Chesapeake Avenue, Suite 605
Towson, Maryland 21204
Tel. (410) 825-5223
Fax (410) 825-5426