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Walter Crane's 6 Beautiful Illustrations

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Walter Crane's 6 Beautiful Illustrations
photo by wikiart

Walter Crane (15 August 1845 – 14 March 1915) was an English artist and book illustrator. He is considered to be the most influential, and among the most prolific, children's book creators of his generation[1] and, along with Randolph Caldecott and Kate Greenaway, one of the strongest contributors to the child's nursery motif that the genre of English children's illustrated literature would exhibit in its developmental stages in the later 19th century.

Crane's work featured some of the more colourful and detailed beginnings of the child-in-the-garden motifs that would characterize many nursery rhymes and children's stories for decades to come. He was part of the Arts and Crafts movement and produced an array of paintings, illustrations, children's books, ceramic tiles, wallpapers and other decorative arts. Crane is also remembered for his creation of a number of iconic images associated with the international Socialist movement.

1.The Angel of Peace

photo by wmgallery

The painting was done at the time of the Boer War of 1900. William Crane was a bitter opponent of the war, and when the Fabians failed to oppose the war, Crane along with other members including Ramsay Macdonald resigned from the Fabian Society. The alternative title, A Stranger, was intended to symbolise the estrangement of peace from the world. A similar figure, presenting olive branches to two wounded combatants, appears in Crane's cartoon to commemorate the ending of the Boer War, published in the Daily News, 2 June 1902.

2.Walter Crane

photo by wikimedia

Laura was a young woman for whom the poet Petrarch (1304-1374) nursed an unrequited passion. Although born in Arezzo, he was brought up in Avignon, and it was there that he fell in love. When Laura showed no sign of returning his ardour, he retired to Vaucluse, a romantic spot near Avignon, where he poured out his amorous feelings into sonnets for which he is famed.

The story has obvious parallels with that of Dante and Beatrice, but it attracted far less attention from artists working in the romantic tradition. It is not easy to think of examples, apart, perhaps, from Petrarch's First Meeting with Laura by Ford Madox Brown's friend William Cave Thomas, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1861 (see Heaven on Earth, exh. University of Nottingham, 1994, cat. no. 68, illustrated).

The origins of the present painting lie in a fancy-dress ball that was planned in 1884 to celebrate the re-organisation of the Institute of Painters in Watercolours and its move to new premises in Piccadilly. The Institute's Committee undertook to arrange a masque representing different epochs in the history of art from Pheidias to Romney.

3. Baby’s Own Aesop

photo by publicdomainreview

Walter Crane's beautifully illustrated version of Aesop's fables, shortened and put into limericks for the younger reader, was first published in 1887. The Aesopica is a collection of fables credited to Aesop, a slave and story-teller believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 560 BCE.

4.The Rosebud and other tales

photo by christies

The stories are: The Rosebud; The Mirror; The Lump of Coal; The Lawn Tennis Ball; The Little Animal; and Soap Bubbles. These tales were written by Arthur Kelly and he commissioned Walter Crane to illustrate his vanity publication in 1909. Crane produced twenty-one illustrations in total, of which twenty were used. In Isobel Spencer's book entitled Walter Crane, she states that: "The Rosebud and Other Tales of 1909. These show him beginning to take advantage of the subtle effects the process [the process plate] afforded but the bright colour and strong design, plus the way they are mounted on dark paper, ensures that they do not detract from the unified concept of the whole book."

5.Valentine Cherry Ripe (illust. for The Union of Love)

photo by artnet

This charming drawing is previously unrecorded in Crane's oeuvre. It may possibly be a design for a valentine card. It has also been linked by a contemporary hand to a book called The Union of Love, however, to date, research has not uncovered details of this publication.

6.Forsaken Truth; An illustration to Spenser's 'Faerie Queene'

photo by mutualart

The drawing is an illustration for Book I, Canto III of the Faerie Queene, edited by T.J. Wise and published by George Allen in nineteen parts between 1894 and 1897. In terms of quantity, the book was Crane's greatest achievement as an illustrator. He designed a cover for the series and at least one full-page illustration, heading and tailpiece for each of the twelve cantos of the six books. However, despite his fondness for Spenser's text, which also inspired a number of his paintings, the illustrations themselves vary in quality. The present example is one of the best.


The colors in Walter Crane's paintings are very rich and the lines are meticulous. The content of the paintings is full of imagination. People can't help but want to see more and look forward to his other creations.
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