Children’s book illustrators

The History of Printing Collection contains examples of works by some of the top illustrators and book artists of the 19th and 20th centuries, including works by Arthur Rackham, Walter Crane, Beatrix Potter, Sir John Tenniel, George Cruikshank, and Aubrey Beardsley.  Special Collections owns some especially fine examples of works by three of the leading figures in 19th century children’s book illustration, Louis-Maurice Boutet de Monvel, Randolph Caldecott, and Kate Greenaway.

Louis-Maurice Boutet de Monvel was a French portraitist and children’s book illustrator.  His best-known book is a child’s illustrated history of Joan of Arc, published in 1896.  Special Collections owns a deluxe copy of the work, which consists of unbound, color lithographs, as well as 1896 reprints in color and in black and white.

Randolph Caldecott (for whom the Caldecott Medal is named) had little formal artistic training, but became a successful illustrator for magazines and books.  His most successful works for children were a series of toy books issued annually at Christmastime between 1878 and 1885.  Wildly popular, the later toy books were printed in editions of 100,000.  Caldecott’s toy books are still in print today.  Special Collections has a full set of the 16 toy books, as well as many other titles illustrated by Caldecott.

Kate Greenaway is famous for her illustrations of young children clothed in late 18th and early 19th century Regency dress.  Her images graced children’s books, magazines, calendars, and greeting cards, and even started a fashion craze in children’s clothes.  Special Collections has examples of Greenaway’s illustrated books, calendars, and cards, including a set of illustrated almanacs inscribed by Greenaway to poet and book collector Frederick Locker-Lampson.

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