Cornwell is probably better known as a mural painter, an American version
of Frank Brangwyn. In fact he once rented a studio in London from Brangwyn.
His work was seen in the 1939 World's Fair (the General Motors Building),
and in Radio City, New York, among other sites. He also undertook masses
of advertising work and got particularly involved in imagery for the
promotion of War Bonds. His work is technically fascinating. In Watson's
book on Forty Illustrators (1946) he reveals that he makes a photostat
of his oil study for a piece and projects it on to the canvas (with
an epidiascope) to assist in drawing the major lines of the composition.
In 1946 Cornwell admitted to over a thousand illustrations, usually
in oil colour. He paid tribute to Howard Pyle who is largely credited
with introducing the illustration executed in oil colour - back in the
days when a colour illustration in a magazine was a rarity and often
framed by the reader.
"An illustrator's task is to focus upon details, action, and effects
which are significant in a particular story. Cornwell finds a precise
pencil drawing, made on location, ten times more useful than a camera
left "Southampton Docks", April 1947 for the National
City Bank of New York .18 x 26cms.
middle War Bond advertisement by Cornwell, July 1944 for Fisher
Bodies (General Motors). 21 x 23 cms.
right unknown advertisement for a fruit company, undated.