Better Homes and Gardens – April, 1927

Better Homes and Gardens - April, 1927

Better Homes and Gardens is a lifestyle magazine that was founded by former United States Secretary of Agriculture Edwin Meredith in 1922. The magazine was originally called Fruit, Garden and Home, but adopted the current name in 1925. Early issues of the magazine featured recipes, gardening advice, and home floor plans.

As the cover states, this particular issue was published in April of 1927. The intricate floral cover is the work of Frank Whitmore, an Australian artist that created a number of paintings for magazines, advertisements, textiles, and product packaging. Whitmore, who was based in Sydney, primarily worked with Australian companies, but he created several covers for Better Homes and Gardens over the course of his career.

Although Whitmore retired in the 1950s, he was an incredibly prolific artist that was never afraid to experiment or change styles. He worked with countless companies, including Pyrex and Johnson & Johnson, and painted everything from locomotives to portraits. His work is on display in the he Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Better Homes and Gardens - April, 1927

Because this magazine is from the 1920s, it’s packed to the brim with additional illustrations, including this melodramatic ad for Purina Chick Chow. The pitiful chick, who apparently could have been saved with one mere penny, was illustrated by Elsie Palmer Payne, a commercial artist who worked with companies like Maybelline, National Oats, and Wrigley’s.

Elsie Palmer Payne was the wife of famed landscape artist Edgar Alwin Payne, but she was an accomplished artist in her own right. Her oil paintings were displayed in numerous galleries, as were her tempera drawings. Many of her paintings can still be seen in galleries like the
Laguna Art Museum and the Indianapolis Museum of Art.