Written by Tirzah Jane Baker
WHO CREATED ELOISE?
Eloise was created by radio star, vocal coach, and socialite Kay Thompson and brought to life by artist and illustrator Hilary Knight. Kay Thompson lived on the 13th floor of The Plaza, and Eloise was Thompson’s alter ego. She often spoke and acted like Eloise with her friends.
In 1955, Thompson hired Hilary Knight to partner in making Eloise into a picture book for adults. Knight was the son of two artists and was working as an illustrator and writer. He is known for his childlike imagination and playful representation of the world. He worked with Thompson to transfer her big personality and vision of Eloise onto paper.
Thompson and Knight published four Eloise books together: Eloise at the Plaza (1955), Eloise in Paris (1957), Eloise at Christmastime (1958), and Eloise in Moscow (1959). While writing Eloise takes a Bawth (published in 2002 after Thompson’s death), Thompson and Knight had a falling out resulting in Thompson tightening her control over Eloise. Knight was no longer allowed to produce images of Eloise. Our exhibition details the fraught story and highlights Knight’s illustrations.
(Information above is drawn from It’s Me, Hilary: The Man Who Drew Eloise, directed by Matt Wolf, narrated by Lena Dunham, performed by Hilary Knight, HBO, 2015.)
This is one of our favorite crafts this summer, modeled after Eloise’s dear friend, Skipperdee the turtle! The project is easy to re-create at home with tissue paper, crayons, glue, ribbon, construction paper, and a paper bowl.
RAWTHER AWESOME PROGRAMS
Join us at the Museum for crafts like these at Little New-Yorkers, Tuesdays and Fridays from 3:30–4:15 pm. Little New-Yorkers is a story time with an art project for 3–5 year olds and their caregivers. We also invite you to join us for Eloise Story Time, Tuesday–Friday at 2 pm.
Visit us on Sunday, August 13, or Sunday, September 10 for our Eloise on the Big Screen film series. Plus, join us for multiple dates in August and September for Eloise Après Déjeuner, an Eloise-themed party!
Eloise family programs this summer and fall!
August 9: Eloise Après Déjeuner
August 13: Eloise on the Big Screen
August 30: Eloise Après Déjeuner
September 10: Eloise on the Big Screen
September 13: Eloise Après Déjeuner
September 27: Eloise Après Déjeuner
September 30: Eloise’s Rawther Fancy Party
October 1: Eloise’s Rawther Fancy Party