Margery Williams Bianco is best known as the author of the beloved children’s classic The Velveteen Rabbit. Few are likely to know that in her personal life, Margery was a mother to a rather prodigious daughter, Pamela, who at the tender age of 4 had already captivated the art scene in Europe.
While the Bianco women shared a natural creativity and both achieved much success in their respective endeavors, the similarities end at their personal dispositions. While Margery was upbeat, social and sure of herself, Pamela, perhaps due to early success facilitated by an overbearing father, spent most of her life doubting her craft and not knowing exactly where she fit in this world.
Debut author Laurel Davis Huber chronicles this mother-daughter relationship of almost 45 years and sheds light on an artist whom history seems to have mostly forgotten in the aptly titled, fascinating The Velveteen Daughter.
Based in extensive fact and research, the story takes us from Italy to New York, covering the lively art scene of the early 20th century. Many of the supporting characters include other famous celebrities of the time like Pablo Picasso, Richard Hughes and Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, who is personally credited for introducing the Bianco family to America.
Huber honors all aspects of Pamela’s life, as we learn not just about her artistic achievements and her family life, but also her debilitating, obsessive relationships and two peculiar marriages.
Pamela outlived both her parents and continued to live in New York until her own passing in 1994, which by all accounts seems like recent history. With a wonderful touch, Huber makes a lost artist come alive in vibrant yet melancholic colors.