Housework in Art and Illustration


Washing and Washing Work

Sewing, Spinning and Weaving

The Symbolism of Broomsticks

Feminine pursuits, Pieter Roosing, 1814 - 1839
Feminine pursuits, Pieter Roosing, 1814 – 1839

The first edition of THE JOY OF COOKING (1931), self-published by Irma Rombauer, is America’s most popular cookbook, having sold more than 18,000,000 copies. On the original cover, the book featured a silhouette cutout illustration by Rombauer’s daughter, Marion Rombauer Becker, who was director of the art department at John Burroughs School in St. Louis. Her design depicts Saint Martha of Bethany, the patron saint of cooking (representing here the chore’s drudgery), beating a dragon with a mop.

The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer
The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer
This illustration is by John Falter, for an edition of the Saturday Evening Post. Clearly humorous in intent, I find this intensely irritating. I’m not sure a mother of young children would have illustrated a ‘humorous’ scene quite like this one.
George Hughes More Clothes To Clean
Marianne Stokes – Polishing Pans 1887
Hakon Bjarke Thorsen (1866-1925) Farm Interior With A Woman Washing Clothes, Danish
‘Serviceman’s Wife’,ca.1942 Ivan G. Olinsky
Yuri Ivanovich Pimenov (1903-1977) washing windows
Yuri Ivanovich Pimenov (1903-1977) washing windows
Frank Holl - Peeling Potatoes ca. 1880 kitchen
Frank Holl – Peeling Potatoes ca. 1880 kitchen
Eugenio Edouardo Zampighi (Italian, 1855-1944) Spinning In The Kitchen
Édouard Vuillard (1868-1940) The sweeper, 346 rue Saint-Honoré, 1895
Portrait of Mademoiselle Boissiere Knitting by Gustave Caillebotte 1877
Mr. Fix-It 1956 Art by Stevan Dohanos kitchen
Mr. Fix-It 1956 Art by Stevan Dohanos
Suffolk author & illustrator Kathleen Hale, Orlando the Marmalade Cat housework
Suffolk author & illustrator Kathleen Hale, Orlando the Marmalade Cat
The Wood Street Helpers by Mabel Esther Allan
Fritz Sonderland (1830-1896) La petite mésaventure, 1868
François Bonvin (1817-1887, French) Woman Ironing 1858

Header painting: Garnet Ruskin Wolseley (1884-1967) British