The Art of Book Design: Arabian Nights

Arabian Nights. Edited by Hildegard Hawthorne, illustrated by Virginia Frances Sterrett. Philadelphia, The Penn Publishing Company, 1928.

Arabian Nights is the last book illustrated by Virginia Sterrett before her death in 1931 at the age of 30.  It was a huge undertaking for Sterrett who was quite sick with tuberculosis  and living in sanatorium at the time. The artist was able to work for only brief periods each day and the book took a total of 3 years to complete. Sterrett experienced a brief improvement in her health in 1929 and was able to return home for a time. She even began work on a new book for Penn Publishing in 1930 – Myths and Legends – but she was unable to complete the work. Many people consider Arabian Nights to be the finest work that Sterrett produced.  Enjoy!



The Sultana had a Conversation with a Man

The son regained his form

The History of the Second Calendar

They Danced Before Me

The Great Serpent

Alladin and the Genie of the Ring

Alladin and the Magic Lamp

Aladdin Made his Way to the Sultan’s Palace

Aladdin Greeted the Princess with Joy

The Story of Baba Abdallah

Ali Baba and the forty thieves

Ali Baba: Morgiana Danced with Much Grace

The Tale of Sinbad the Sailor

The Third Voyage of Sinbad

The Fifth Voyage of Sinbad

I couldn’t find a single source that included well-sized images with titles, so I pulled from several sources and they are listed below.

The cover illustration is from Cigili Masallar, Children’s Book Illustration Blog, where you can view all of Sterrett’s illustrations for the book, including the black and white drawings.

The interior book illustrations are from the art section of HubPages

The titles for the illustrations are from Art Passions




  1. Jazzlet says

    She did wonderful work, they are quite fantastic as is right for Arabian Nights, beautiful.

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