“Women in Motion Exhibit” at PAFA (Pt. 2 ) Red Rose Girls

by | Jun 21, 2022

Spread the love

The Red Rose Girls were artists from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, active in the early 1900s: Violet Oakley, Jessie Willcox Smith, and Elizabeth Shippen Green. They were given their nickname by their teacher, Howard Pyle, because they rented the Red Rose Inn together, creating a communal household of professional women, a radical act at the time. A fourth friend, Henrietta Cozens, managed the household.

Violet Oakley (1874-1961)
Trio at Cogslea: Elizabeth Shippen Green,
Henrietta Cozzens, and Jessie Wilcox Smith
(unfinished), c. 1906-11
Oakley’s painting Trio at Cogslea depicts Green, Cozzens, and Smith in intimate conversation and demonstrates the bonds of friendship and love that the group shared. Their decision to live in a single gender household was likely influenced by the opinion–held by many at the time, including their teacher, Pyle–that marriage meant the end of a woman’s artistic career. Instead, the Red Rose Girls were prolific and highly successful, especially in the field of magazine and book illustration.



Green, Oakley, and Smith seated, each holding a rose, while Cozens holds a watering can over their heads, pretending to water them. Identification on verso (handwritten): The red roses; Elizabeth Shippen Green, Violet Oakley, Jessie Willcox Smith, Henrietta Cozens; with Violet Oakley poster [in background] for first exhibition at the Plastic Club; taken at 1523 Chestnut Street, when they planned to move to “The Red Rose”, Villanova.


Join My VIP Blog Club

Never miss an exciting and informative blog article! Plus, I’ll give you advance notice of special artsy events from time to time. (PRO TIP: Members receive occasional discount coupon codes for workshops, classes and other perks.)


Your information is never shared with anyone else.