Augustus L. Jansson
(1863 - 1931)    


Top right: a copy of the artist's proof approval card from the back of the "Apothecary" sketch.

Shirte Shopp No. 1 and Queen of Hearts
9 1/2" x 12"               7 1/2" x 10"

Above is an enlargement of a signature from the "Drummer" sketch.

We have no biographical information about this unlisted Somerville, MA, illustrator and rhymester other than the information listed on his labels.  The works we have were all purchased from his family's estate in Lincoln, MA, in the early 1980s.  The family did not have any information on him.

We have recently discovered a children's book he wrote and illustrated:

Hobby Hoss Fair published in 1904 by H. M. Caldwell.

He produced a range of designs based on playing cards for Wedgwood  in England.  Several people have reported to us that they have plates done by him.  One has the following signature:
Rd No. 550208

Here is another example belonging to Irene Nolan of Consecon, Ontario, Canada.

And recently on E~Bay:

WEDGWOOD 1909 Jansson Box

This is a lovely piece of RARE WEDGWOOD, ETRURIA ENGLAND BOX:  Rd. No. 550208.  The art of the Queen of Clubs is done by the renowned artist, Augustus L. Jansson, West Somerville, Mass.  Copyright 1909

It measures 4 inches by 2 1/8 inches

We also located a blog that we are copying here from Alan Holtz of Lake County, Florida, since blogs tend to come and go:


Sunday, January 07, 2007

Obscurity of the Day: Odd Folks With Odd Ways
 I hope you've all been very good this week, because you're getting a very special treat. This is one of my very favorite obscurities, delightfully odd and beautifully drawn.

A.L. Jansson worked at the Boston Herald in the early years of the century and contributed a lot of his visionary work to their homegrown comics section. He really didn't seem to have a clue about the comic strip form, so his strips are pretty uniformly static designs like this page. But what designs! He loved geometric forms, bold and simple with a bizarre, otherwordly edge to them.

They remind me of face card designs for playing cards, or maybe nutcrackers. Whatever the inspiration, they fairly leap off the page and grab the viewer by the throat, especially in comparison with the badly drawn junk that filled most of the Herald's comic section in its various incarnations.

Jansson did a lot of one-shots, but also three short series, of which Odd Folks With Odd Ways lasted the longest, from April 17 to July 3, 1904. His others, Moon Rhymes and In Plaiddie Land in 1901, are similar in design. The tearsheet reproduced today I just scored recently, the first of Jansson's work that I've gotten to see in full size and in glorious color. Even on microfilm, though, these 'strips' are stunningly weird and beautiful.

Who was A.L. Jansson and what became of him? I have no clue. I checked Davenport's to see if he made it into their purview, but no luck. Can anyone dig up information on this obscure master?

~Allan Holtz {The Strippers Guide}

The image below is from Nathaniel Lachenmeyer. The original drawing is 9" x 12 1/4".

Lachenmeyer adds that he found out a bit more about Jansson. The following information comes from a collector of nouveau and art deco prints...

"In the early 1900's, Jansson did a series of at least 40 ads for the Queen City Ink Company in the magazine the Inland printer. This magazine is famous because another ink company (Ault & Wiborg) advertised here. Ault & Wiborg had ads by Will Bradley, Steinlen and even Lautrec. The Queen City ads by Jansson always struck me as way ahead of their time, having a distinct art deco feel as early as 1903. I have also found out that Jansson illustrated some postcards."


Two postcards courtesy of James Douglas Gallery, PO Box 2, Montgomery, NY  12549:


Any further information on Jansson and the work that he did would be appreciated.

Lambiek Comic shop
  • "A. L. Jansson was an illustrator of greeting cards and advertisements between 1900 and 1910. His unusual style resembles playing cards figures. He also used this style in his series of stories on the American Revolution, that appeared in The Sunday Herald around 1904."

Postcard Artistry of Augustus L. Jansson

Tenth Letter of the Alphabet

Allan Holtz blog - Stripper's Guide - October 31, 2013

Works of A. L. Jansson in the museum collection.