January 14, 2021

Throwback Thursday: The Golden Age of Illustration, 3 Female Artists from England, By Amanda Bergloff


Editor's Note: When many people think of the Golden Age of Illustration, Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac and other male artists come to mind, but there were also female artists that excelled during this time. We hope you enjoy this article featuring three female artists from England and their art originally published in 2017.

The Golden Age of Illustration is a term applied to a time period (1880s - 1920s) of unprecedented excellence in book and magazine illustrations by artists in Europe and America. Advances in technology at the time allowed for accurate and inexpensive reproductions of their art, which allowed quality books to be available to the voracious public demand for new graphic art.

This period 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

from The Tale of Tom Kitten, 1907

from The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck, 1908
from The Tale of Peter Rabbit, 1907

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
Little Bo Peep, 1908
from Alice in Wonderland, 1907
from Alice in Wonderland, 1907

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
December, 1890
from The Baby's Opera, 1877
from Marigold Garden, 1885

EC's contributing editor, Amanda Bergloff, writes modern fairy tales, folktales, and speculative fiction. Her work has appeared in various anthologies, including Frozen Fairy Tales, After the Happily Ever After, and Uncommon Pet Tales.

Follow her on Twitter @AmandaBergloff

Check out her Amazon Author Page

Also, join her every Tuesday on Twitter for #FairyTaleTuesday to share what you love about fairy tales, folktales, and myths.
And check out
Enchanted Conversation's
and listen to the
Classical Music to Write Fairy Tales By
playlist for some writing inspiration!

1 comment:

Kathleen Jowitt said...

Oh, lovely. I wonder where my Kate Greenaway Treasury has got to - I used to love looking at it with my grandmother, back when I was tiny.