The Golden Age of Children’s Book Illustration

We’ve discovered some works by influential Victorian children’s illustrators in our special collections. The period from around 1880 to the early twentieth century was known as the Golden Age of children’s illustrated books. During the Victorian age literacy improved and children were encouraged to read for pleasure. Childhood was often romanticised in children’s books.

We have work by three prominent illustrators in our collection. Kate Greenaway was a trained graphic designer and artist who started her career designing holiday cards. She later specialised in illustrating children’s books. Many of her illustrations accompanied nursery rhymes and the characters she drew often wore Regency costumes.

Since 1955 CILIP has awarded an annual honorary medal in Kate Greenaway’s memory for outstanding illustration in a children’s book.

day

A Day in a Child’s Life (1881) with music arranged by Myles B. Foster was illustrated by Greenaway. The songs tell the story of a child’s day from waking up to going to bed. The illustration of playtime shows the attention to detail and choice of delicate colours.

playtime

Walter Crane was part of the Arts and Crafts movement and worked in collaboration with William Morris. He also drew highly colourful and detailed illustrations for nursery rhymes and children’s books.  The Baby’s Bouquet is a companion to his earlier book Baby Opera. Many of the rhymes are in French and German.

baby

The beautifully illustrated design below accompanies the rhyme Buy a Broom.

broom

The final item is In Fairy Land (1870) illustrated by Richard Doyle.  Doyle was involved with the Punch magazine for a number of years and designed the cover for the first edition.  He later illustrated children’s books and was fascinated by fairy tales.

fairy land

In Fairy Land was his most important work for children with its attention to detail and focus on the elf world.

fairy land 2

 

We hope you enjoyed this selection of items. If you’d like to view them or anything else in our collections, please get in touch to book a visit Records and Archives

^Posted on behalf of Caroline Blundell, Records and Archives

Post edited 17.6.19 to update link to Records and Archives centre.

Forever Green

Spring is just around the corner and we can look forward to spending more time outdoors and enjoying our gardens.

We’ve chosen some items from our special collections with a garden theme.  All of the items are from our collection of art treasures.

Green1

This delightful image is of a design for Attingham Park, Shropshire by Humphrey Repton.  Repton was a landscape gardener in the eighteenth century, widely considered to be the successor to Capability Brown. He produced a series of Red Books to show clients what he envisaged for their park. The books are beautifully illustrated with watercolours and explanatory notes. The pictures have overlays to show ‘before’ and ‘after’ views of the park.

Continue reading