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Magic in the nursery

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Illustrations from the children’s books of Walter Crane and Randolph Caldecott (with a guest appearance by Kate Greenaway)

The modern children’s picture book - where illustration is dominant – begins in earnest in the 70s and 80s of the nineteenth century with the ‘Toy Books’ of Walter Crane (1845-1915), Randolph Caldecott (1846-1886) and Kate Greenaway (1846-1901). All three artists had their own approach to illustration for children yet collectively they initiated the ‘modern’ look of the picture book.

Walter Crane was the first of the trio to illustrate nursery books and his style, if sometimes a little formal, was nonetheless the first breath of fresh air in a new look for picture books.

Randolph Caldecott succeeded Crane in 1878 and instantly showed a lighter more intuitive drawing style in his work which ‘animated’ the illustrated page with lively observations of people and animals in action.

Kate Greenaway was not as strong a draughtsperson as Crane or Caldecott, yet her popular vision of an ideal of childhood, in which children most resemble ‘little adults’, is as successful today as it was to the late Victorians.

The delicacy of colour in the illustrations, together with the care with which the books were designed and printed, is due to the engraver-printer Edmund Evans (1826–1905) and his name will always be associated with the ground-breaking work of the three artists.

The exhibition is supported with simple musical instruments in order that venues can extend the show into activities with young children: Rhyme Times, Story Times, and arts projects in general.

Exhibition Specifications

Minimum of 40 framed prints

Introductory graphic panel and labels

4 Large scale rhyme panels

Work sheets and musical instruments for ‘Rhyme Times’

Sculptures for display

Professionally designed pdf poster for publicity; to be adapted and printed by venues.

Gallery Requirements

20-30 running meters plus display facilities.


Hiring Fee

£200/week for a minimum of three weeks.

Transport Costs

Venues to arrange forward transport or take advantage of an inclusive transport tariff whichever is preferred.


Please contact: Dr Leo John Defreitas


For more information please contact Graphicus Touring on 01295 256110