By Carol London
Ilona Royce-Smithkin lived above The Beatrice Inn on West 12th Street for fifty years and celebrated her 100th birthday on March 27th from her balcony in Provincetown, sung to by many loving friends below. She painted the first portrait of Tennessee Williams, had a documentary about her life created several years ago, and authored Painting with Ilona and a beautiful soft-covered book, Joy Dust Ilona at 96, published in 2016 by Fourth Chakra House Books with her wonderful picture on the cover, as bright as her orange hair and purple eyelashes (which she made from her own hair), smiling her lovely smile.
Royce-Smithkin was an iconic picture herself, walking in and around Abingdon Square or sitting at a table at one of her favorite restaurants, The Bus Stop, where a waiter always had a telephone book ready for the tiny woman to sit on. She still paints sometimes, and mentored other artists until recently. She was voted “Woman of the Year” in Provincetown.