The Golden Age of Illustration - 3 Female Artists from England

The Golden Age of Illustration (1880s - 1920s) produced some wonderful female artists from England that we're featuring here, starting with Beatrix Potter:

Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter (July 8, 1866 - December 22, 1943) was an English illustrator, writer, natural scientist, and conservationist. Her children's books featuring animals, such as The Tale of Peter Rabbit, are what she is best known for.

Growing up, Potter's love of landscape, flora, and fauna, is what led her to develop her talents as a painter. She was thirty years old when she published, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, and after the success of that book, she began writing and illustrating children's books full-time.

Potter wrote about 30 books during her lifetime - 24 of those being children's tales such as The Tale of Benjamin Bunny, The Tale of Tom Kitten, The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck, The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher, and others.

Her charming illustrations were always some of my favorites growing up, and I still have the books I originally read on my bookshelves today. Check out some of her art below:
The Tale of Peter Rabbit 1902
Beatrix Potter
from The Tale of Tom Kitten 1907
Beatrix Potter

from The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck 1908
Beatrix Potter

from The Tale of Peter Rabbit 1907
Beatrix Potter

Special thanks to our guest art editor:
Brita Long

Millicent Sowerby

Amy Millicent Sowerby (1878 - 1967) was an English painter and illustrator and was one of the first women to illustrate Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in 1907.

Sowerby took some art classes, but was largely self-taught. Her work was initially influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement, along with artists such as Thomas Crane and Kate Greenaway.

She is also known for her illustrations for A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1911, her postcards featuring nursery rhymes, children, and Shakespearean scenes, and children's books created with her sister, Githa Sowerby.

Sowerby's art is beautifully fanciful and detail oriented. Check it out below:

Fairy Babies 1910

Millicent Sowerby

Little Bo Peep 1908
Millicent Sowerby

from Alice in Wonderland 1907
Millicent Sowerby

from Alice in Wonderland 1907
Millicent Sowerby

Special thanks to guest art editor:
Stephanie Goloway
and Deby Fredericks

Kate Greenaway

Kate Greenaway (March 17, 1845 - November 6, 1901) was a Victorian children's book illustrator and writer whose work influenced the children's style of the day.

Her first book, Under the Window, was an instant best seller and was followed by other successful books, including Mother Goose (1881) and Little Ann (1883.) She also developed a career as a water-colorist with illustrators Walter Crane and Randolph Caldecott.

Greenaway illustrated over 150 books, and two of them were ones that she both wrote and illustrated: Under the Window and Marigold Garden. By the late nineteenth century, her illustrations of children were so popular that Liberty of London adapted her drawings as designs for actual children's clothes.

Her graceful art evokes a nostalgia to read old nursery rhyme books with a cup of tea on a Sunday afternoon. Check out her lovely art below:
Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes 1910
Kate Greenaway

December 1890
Kate Greenaway

from The Baby's Opera 1877
Kate Greenaway

from Marigold Garden 1885
Kate Greenaway

Special thanks to our guest art editor:
Lissa Sloan

Let us know your favorites in the Comments section below.


  1. I appreciate this feature on female artists! I love learning about women in history.


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