Tasha Tudor and Her Beloved Corgis: “How could you resist a Corgi?”

Tasha Tudor and Corgis

Tasha Tudor (August 28, 1915 – June 18, 2008) not only wrote and illustrated some two dozen of her own titles, but her exquisitely detailed watercolors and drawings grace scores of other books. Her writing and art have earned her a secure place in children’s literature, yet she became nearly as famous for her unconventional lifestyle.

Anyone who knows a bit about Tasha’s private life will know that she was a consummate Corgi lover. And if this is news to you, you’re in for a lovely look at Tasha Tudor’s corgis.

Tasha’s art and books go straight to the heart of nostalgia, harking back to an abiding love for simpler days gone by. Some of the best known children’s books Tasha illustrated include the classics Mother Goose and The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Tasha Tudor’s Corgis received her abiding affection. “How could you resist a Corgi?” she was known to ask. Indeed, it’s hard to think of a more adorable dog.

In turn, Tasha Tudor’s name is well known and revered in the global Corgi community. Given her love for them, it’s not surprising that her preserved home in Marlboro, Vermont is called The Corgi Cottage (which you can visit in season). Jeanette Chandler Knazek, Consulting Curator of The Corgi Cottage, introduces Tasha:

“For the November 1941 issue of the Book Magazine for Boys and Girls, Tasha had penned a short piece titled ‘Out of New England,’ in which she eloquently described some of the sights and experiences of her childhood while learning to appreciate all that New England had to offer, particularly in the ways of nature. For the rest of her life, Tasha would continue to explore New England’s history, cherishing its days and ways.”

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Tasha Tudor carrying water
Tasha at her home in Marlboro, Vermont; Photo: Patricia Denys

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Born in Boston, Tasha has been referred to as an “unconventional Martha Stewart,” for creating an idyllic New England existence that time seemed to forget. This “back-to-the-land” lifestyle included spinning her own fabric for making her trademark old-fashioned dresses, raising Nubian goats, and recreating bygone pastimes. But what seemed to give her great pleasure were her beloved Corgis.

Her foray into the world of Corgis, both in her life and art, seemed to start around the late 1950s. According to the homage to Tasha on Welsh Corgi News:

“Inevitably it was only a matter of time before Corgis began to feature in Tasha Tudor’s work; sometimes as the focal point of an illustration, often as a detail, but the Tudor Corgis are quite ubiquitous! Indeed, they have been the subject of three entire books: Corgiville Fair (1971), The Great Corgiville Kidnapping (1997) and Corgiville Christmas (2002).”

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Tasha Tudor and her corgis, Rebecca and Owyn

Tasha and her corgis,  Rebecca and Owyn; photo: Patricia Denys
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Patricia Denys and Mary Holmes were fortunate to have met Tasha on her home turf when they collaborated on a 1998 book titled Animal Magnetism: At Home With Celebrities and Their Animal Companions. Denys recalls:

“We had created a wish list of humans we would like to photograph with their companion animals. Tasha Tudor was on that list. We contacted her manager at the time, who was extremely open to the idea and arranged for us to not only photograph Tasha but to spend the night at her enchanting farm. At dusk, she served us black tea and her custom apricot cobbler. I was spellbound. Her home, the animals, the property and the autumn air were all seductive.

We followed her for a day and were told that night if we wanted to see her ‘goat cafeteria’ the next day we needed to be up at dawn to watch her feed the animals! Tasha used one of my photographs of her from that first meeting for her book jacket for The Great Corgiville Kidnapping.

We visited Tasha over four Autumns; one included polishing her numerous copper pots at her request after we volunteered to help with chores if needed. She had no trouble thinking of something for us to do.

Tasha, her goats, birds, cat, and beloved Corgyn were some of the most photogenic subjects we had ever photographed. It was a remarkable experience knowing Tasha Tudor and being able to record a small part of her amazing life as an artist.”

See more of Patricia Denys’s Tasha Tudor photos here. Finally, we’ll leave you with a few choice quotes by Tasha Tudor, Corgi lover extraordinaire:

“Corgis are enchanted. You need only to see them in the moonlight to know this.”

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“There is no other dog that can compare to a Corgi. They’re the epitome of beauty.”

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“They’re such characters. A mixture of a dog and a cat, I think.”

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“I have a one-track mind when it comes to Corgis. I think it is because they are Welsh, and my ancestors came from Wales. Don’t you think people look like their dogs? Just like a man and wife who come to look like one another in a very happy marriage.”

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Tasha Tudor’s corgi books

The Great Corgiville Kidnapping

The Great Corgiville Kidnapping
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Corgiville Fair by Tasha Tudor

Corgiville Fair
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Corgiville Christmas by Tasha Tudor

Corgiville Christmas
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Edith wharton and pekingese

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