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.
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.
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.
The beautifully illustrated design below accompanies the rhyme Buy a 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.
In Fairy Land was his most important work for children with its attention to detail and focus on the elf world.
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