Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Elusive Tsanya

Cupid's Bower
I went to an antique show years ago and found this 1920's print in its original frame with the signature "Tsanya" in the lower right corner. I loved the colors and romantic design, and since it was an affordable $25, I bought it and began looking for other Tsanya prints. 

Peacock Garden and Love Triumphant

It took ten years of searching high and low, but eventually I found three more. Because the original frames were in bad condition and the prints were deteriorating, I had to have them re-done, even though I was well aware that it would reduce their value. 

Today they hang on the wall between the master bedroom and bathroom where I can enjoy them every day.
You can't tell from the picture, but the prints are mounted on black velvet with a brass fillet between the velvet and the print, and they're covered with a so-called non-glare glass. 

Cupid's Bower and Fountain of Love

During my search for prints, I also looked for information about Tsanya, and the plot began to thicken. To this day I don't know with absolute certainty who she was, but there are several contenders. At first I was told that Tsanya was a pseudonym for Glad Houser, an American puzzle maker who was said to have used the prints to make her puzzles, although I've never seen any. This theory has been pretty well discredited. Next I discovered another intriguing candidate in a post by Cheryl Maltby of Queensland, Australia who said her mother Peg Maltby had lots of these prints, and told her that she'd done the originals under the  pseudonym of Tsanya. 

The third contender, and by far the most likely, is Marion C. Crowe (1886-1979) of Sussex, England. What's fascinating about her, is that she's supposed to have painted under both the name Tsanya and the name Mary Gold.  One source says that the real identity of Mary Gold ..."was a mystery until 2002, when her personal papers, scrapbooks, copies of prints and original artwork started to appear on the market in Scotland."  

As it happens, I have several Mary Gold prints too, and while there are many similarities between those works and the Tsanya prints, I see differences, making it fairly easy to distinguish them at a glance. The Tsanya pictures are more refined and detailed, and many of the people have long, angular faces. The Mary Gold pictures are simpler and most of the faces are round. This is a typical Mary Gold:

Love Melody
Although Tsanya prints are few and far between, there's currently one for sale on ebay with a Buy It Now price of $100. Ebay listing  It's definitely a Tsanya, with the same harlequin as Cupid's Bower. There's also a print described as by Mary Gold/Tsanya (it's definitely in Mary Gold style) that's offered at a starting bid of $34.99. The difference in pricing says a lot about how each artist's work is perceived, so it's ironic that the prints likely were done by the same person.

Recently I discovered that Tsanya images are readily available on line in a variety of products. You can buy an Iphone case or a coffee mug, a sweatshirt or an ornament, a mouse paid and much more. Just visit

I wonder what Tsanya would have thought about all this. 


  1. Hello, I know your post on Marygold is from 2012 but I am hoping you can help me..I just purchased a print signed by Marygold. It is of Jack and Jill (the fairy tale) and there are 13 fairies on it. It shows Jack and Jill walking up the hill to the well. It also has part of the poem written in the left hand corner. I have searched forever on the net for info on this artist but cannot find much..any info would be helpful. If you would know of where I should be directing my question to I would appreciate knowing. My email address is

  2. I wish I could be more helpful, but I don't know of any other resources.