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Object Lessons: from children's book illustrations to a bronze-cast scooter by Subodh Gupta

Hilary Knight, Original Plaza Hotel portrait of Eloise (1956)- Fine Books and Manuscripts Sale, Bonhams, New York, 5 December. Estimate $100,000-$150,000: Eloise, an adventurous girl who lives on the “tippy-top” floor of New York’s Plaza Hotel in Kay Thompson’s children’s books of the same name, came alive through Hilary Knight’s illustrations; his portrait of Eloise was created for Thompson as a gift. The work, however, has had a life as mischievous as Eloise herself. After hanging in the Plaza’s hallway for three years, it was stolen in 1960. Knight got an anonymous tip that led him to the drawing, abandoned in a skip two years later. The missing work had by then been replaced with a copy, so Knight rolled the original up in his closet. It was recently restored to be the centrepiece of the New-York Historical Society’s Eloise exhibition last year.

© 2015 by Hilary Knight .

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