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 creator of his generation
and, along with
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 and other decorative arts. Crane is also remembered for his creation of a number of iconic images associated with the international Socialist movement .
* 1 Biography
* 1.1 Early life and influences * 1.2 Political activity * 1.3 Death, and legacy
* 2 Artistic work
* 2.1 Paintings and illustrations * 2.2 Mature work
* 3 Gallery * 4 Works * 5 See also * 6 Footnotes * 7 Further reading * 8 External links
EARLY LIFE AND INFLUENCES
Portrait of young
Crane was the second son of
Blue plaque, 13 Holland Street , Kensington, London – home from 1892–1915
From the early 1880s, initially under
William Morris 's influence,
Crane was closely associated with the Socialist movement. He did as
much as Morris himself to bring art into the daily life of all
classes. With this object in view he devoted much attention to designs
for textiles and wallpapers , and to house decoration; but he also
used his art for the direct advancement of the Socialist cause. For a
long time he provided the weekly cartoons for the Socialist organs
Justice, The Commonweal and
The Clarion . Many of these were collected
as Cartoons for the Cause. He devoted much time and energy to the work
Art Workers Guild
Although not himself an anarchist , Crane contributed to several libertarian publishers, including Liberty Press and Freedom Press . He is credited with the design and decoration of the front facade of "The Bomb Shop", Henderson\'s bookshop at 66 Charing Cross Road specialising in left-wing and radical literature.
Crane was controversial in his support of the four Chicago anarchists executed in 1887 in connection with the Haymarket affair . Visiting the United States for the first time in connection with an exhibition of his work in 1891, Crane scandalized polite society by appearing at a Boston anarchist meeting and expressing the opinion that the Haymarket defendants had been put to death wrongfully. Returning to his hotel, Crane found a letter stating that he faced "hopeless ruin" among American patrons of the arts owing to his support of those who were commonly considered to be terrorist conspirators in public opinion of the day. Financial support was withdrawn and planned dinners in Crane's honor were cancelled. In response to the controversy, Crane wrote a letter to the press explaining that he had not meant to cause insult and did not himself favor the use of explosives, but had merely been expressing his principled opinion that those convicted were innocent of the crime for which they were charged. The incident was memorialized in the press as "probably the most dramatic episode" in the artist's career.
DEATH, AND LEGACY
PAINTINGS AND ILLUSTRATIONS
Crane's interest in Japanese art is evident in this 1874 cover of a toy book , printed by Edmund Evans . Title page of Baby\'s Own Aesop by Walter Crane, London, 1887
In 1862 his picture The
Lady of Shalott
These are a few of his illustration suites: In 1864 he began to illustrate a series of sixpenny toy books of nursery rhymes in three colours for Edmund Evans . He was allowed more freedom in a series beginning with The Frog Prince (1874) which showed markedly the influence of Japanese art , and of a long visit to Italy following on his marriage in 1871. His work was characterized by sharp outlines and flat tints. The Baby's Opera was a book of English nursery songs planned in 1877 with Evans, and a third series of children's books with the collective title Romance of the Three R's provided a regular course of instruction in art for the nursery. In his early "Lady of Shalott", the artist had shown his preoccupation with unity of design in book illustration by printing in the words of the poem himself, in the view that this union of the calligrapher's and the decorator's art was one secret of the beauty of the old illuminated books .
He followed the same course in The First of May: A Fairy Masque by
his friend John Wise , text and decoration being in this case
reproduced by photogravure . The Goose Girl illustration taken from
his beautiful Household Stories from Grimm (1882) was done again as a
big watercolour and then reproduced in tapestry by
William Morris .
Flora's Feast, A Masque of Flowers had lithographic reproductions of
Crane's line drawings washed in with watercolour; he also decorated in
colour The Wonder Book of
Crane wrote and illustrated three books of poetry, Queen Summer (1891), Renascence (1891), and The Sirens Three (1886). Walter Crane illustrated Nellie Dale 's books on Teaching English Reading: Steps to Reading, First Primer, Second Primer, Infant Reader, Book I, and Book II. These were most probably completed between 1898 and 1907.
His own easel pictures, chiefly allegorical in subject, among them The Bridge of Life (1884) and The Mower (1891), were exhibited regularly at the Grosvenor Gallery and later at the New Gallery . Neptune's Horses was exhibited at the New Gallery in 1893, and with it may be classed his Rainbow and the Wave.
His varied work includes examples of plaster relief , tiles , stained
glass , pottery , wallpaper and textile designs, in all of which he
applied the principle that in purely decorative design "the artist
works freest and best without direct reference to nature, and should
have learned the forms he makes use of by heart." An exhibition of his
work of different kinds was held at the
Fine Art Society 's galleries
in Bond Street in 1891, and taken to the United States in the same
year by the artist himself. It was afterwards exhibited in
Crane was elected a member of the Institute of Painters in Water
Colours in 1882, resigning in 1886; two years later he became an
associate of the
Water Colour Society (1888); he was an examiner for
Science and Art Department at the
South Kensington Museum ;
director of design at the Manchester Municipal School (1894); art
Reading College (1896); and in 1898 for a short time
principal of the
Royal College of Art
In 1887, Crane was commissioned by Emilie Barrington to paint a series of murals to decorate the newly constructed Red Cross Hall in Southwark , a project conceived by the housing campaigner Octavia Hill . Crane produced designs for nine panels, which were displayed at the 1890 Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society show. Ultimately, only three designs were converted into full-size murals, these being: Alice Ayres (1890), depicting the heroine of the Union Street fire which had occurred in 1885 just a few streets away; Jamieson (1892), depicting two Scottish railway workers, Alex Jamieson and his nephew Alexander, who lost their lives in 1874 while working on the Glasgow and Paisley line; Rescue from a Well (1894), depicting George Eales, a 58-year-old labourer who in December 1887 at Drummer, near Basingstoke in Hampshire descended into a well to rescued a five-year-old child. After 1894, no further murals were created, partly due to shortages in funding and other commitments, but also because it was discovered that the gas lighting in the hall was damaging the paintings. The Red Cross Hall is now in private hands and the status of the murals is unknown.
One of Crane's last major works was his lunettes at the Royal West of England Academy which were painted in 1913.
Lady of Shalott
* Cartoons for the Cause 1886-1896 London: Twentieth Century Press, 1896 (revised version 1907). * Line and Form. London: G. Bell and Sons, 1900. * An Artist\'s Reminiscences. New York: Macmillan, 1907.
* Children\'s literature portal
* ^ Delaney, Lesley (November 2010). "Walter Crane: A revolution in nursery picture books". Books for Keeps (185): 4–5. * ^ Crane, Walter (1907). An Artist\'s Reminiscences. New York: Macmillan. pp. 1–5. * ^ The Sanitary Record, W.H.Allen & Co, July 1890 * ^ Groves, Reg: Against the Stream. International Socialism (1st series), No.57, April 1973, pp.22-24. * ^ A B C D E "The Reminiscences of a Socialist Artist," Current Literature, vol. 43, no. 6 (Dec. 1907), pp. 637-641. * ^ "Historical Children\'s Literature Collection". University of Washington