- Laurie Norton Moffatt
Rockwell, Norman (03 February 1894–08 November 1978), illustrator, was born Norman Percevel Rockwell in New York City, the son of Jarvis Waring Rockwell, the manager of the New York City office of a textile firm, and Nancy Hill. According to Rockwell, his father was aloof and his mother was self-indulgent, and neither he nor his older brother enjoyed a warm relationship with either parent. His maternal grandfather, Howard Hill, was a sporadically successful artist, active from 1860 to 1870, who painted detailed scenes of woodland flora and fauna, especially bird subjects, and later in life Rockwell kept an example of his grandfather’s work, a small painting of a quail, in his studio. The family moved frequently around Manhattan neighborhoods, but Rockwell thrived on summer holidays in the upstate New York countryside and formed a lifelong attachment to rural life. He described his youthful self as nonathletic, clumsy, skinny, and pigeon-toed, but his talent for drawing afforded him stature among his classmates. In his autobiography, he also recalled listening to his father read the works of Charles Dickens aloud in the evenings and sketching the characters from his imagination. He credited Dickens with influencing his own view of looking at the world. He loved novels rich in characterization and detail, and his painting style would reflect this penchant for detail....