Maurice Boutet de Monvel Draws a Snowy Day

Today, when winter was doing its best to reassert itself on the first day of spring, I saw for the first time Rondes des quatres saisons (1884), which celebrates the passing of the seasons in poetry by Leon Valade (1844-1884) set to music by Leopold Dauphin (1847-?), and illustrated by several artists.  Among them is Maurice Boutet de Monvel (1851-1913), best known for his patriotic picture book biography of Joan of Arc.

Rondes des quatres saisonsOne of his contributions to the album is this chilly but charming illustration of children stamping their feet to keep warm in a snow shower.

children stamping their feet to keep warm in a snow shower

Rondes des quatres saisons is part of the Diana Rexford Tillson Collection, which Mr. Cotsen purchased in the mid-1990s.   Its vast holdings of picture books, scores, sheet music, sound recordings, and toys documenting the history of music education and appreciation were thoughtfully selected by Miss Tillson, who was for years a Suzuki method violin teacher.  Small discoveries like this Boutet de Monvel illustration are reminders of how rich Miss Tillson’s collection is.  Thanks to her vision, it will continue to support in the years to come both the musicologist looking for a rare edition of Sir Thomas Morley and the performer looking for a piece of sheet music to rearrange for barber shop quartet.