ILLUMINATED: The Art of Children’s Book Illustration

Whilst many things change in modern times, the popularity of children’s picture books have survived the generations, admired by young and old alike.

Childhood characters like Winnie the Pooh, Alice in Wonderland and Blinky Bill have become household names. The artists who brought these characters to life in illustrations, however, are lesser-known. In this timeline we explore some of the most iconic children’s books and the illustrators who brought them to life.

This virtual exhibition is designed to support the exhibition ILLUMINATED: The Art Of Children’s Book Illustration, currently on display at the Moruya Museum.

A section of the exhibition at the Moruya Museum

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Illustrators

Illustrators

1853
1853

J. J. Grandville illustrates ‘The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe’

J. J. Grandville illustrates ‘The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe’

In 1719, Daniel Defoe published Robinson Crusoe,  one of the first novels written in the English language. At the time of its publication it was thought to be a true first hand account of the main characters travels. It remains one of the most translated works, second only to the..Read More

1865
1865

The Adventures of Alice In Wonderland with illustrations by Sir John Tenniel – the beginning of the ‘Golden Age’ of illustration

The Adventures of Alice In Wonderland with illustrations by Sir John Tenniel – the beginning of the ‘Golden Age’ of illustration

The shift to a modern genre of children’s literature occurred in the mid-19th-century, with the ground-breaking Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, written by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (the pen-name of Lewis Carroll). The stories of Alice’s adventures in a fantasy world marked a new era. Stories were written to stimulate the imagination..Read More

1869
1869

Wood engraving is used to illustrate ‘Madeline, A Story Of the Early Springtime’

Wood engraving is used to illustrate ‘Madeline, A Story Of the Early Springtime’

“By means of tracing-paper I transfer my design to the wood and draw on that.” John Tenniel . ‘Madeline A Story of the Early Spring-Time’ by Jacob Abbott (500/119) and published in 1869  is one of the earliest children’s books in our collection. The illustrations are beautifully intricate wood engravings...Read More

1870
1870

Chromolithography revolutionises the printing industry

Chromolithography revolutionises the printing industry

In the first half of the 19th century, color images were usually printed in black and white and then colored by hand. Chromolithography, a technique for printing in colours, began to be employed to print color images in the 1840s. It had a dazzling and meteoric life. After centuries of black..Read More

1880
1880

The Golden Age Of Children’s Book Illustration Begins

The Golden Age Of Children’s Book Illustration Begins

The so-called “Golden Age” of children’s illustrated books—a period dating from around 1880 to the early twentieth century—is today regarded as a literary epoch that produced some of the finest works of art ever created for children’s literature. The culmination of a progressive movement that, for the first time, focused..Read More

1882
1882

Prizegivings and Presentations

Prizegivings and Presentations

There is a a long tradition of marketing books as prizes  in juvenile publishing. These books were originally designed to impart moral guidelines, to reinforce exemplary behavior, and to caution against the evils of intemperance or profanity. The Religious Tract Society, with evangelical leanings, and the Society for Promoting Christian..Read More

1899
1899

Our copy of ‘The Quiver: An illustrated magazine for Sunday and general reading’ was published

Our copy of ‘The Quiver: An illustrated magazine for Sunday and general reading’ was published

The Quiver: An Illustrated Magazine for Sunday and General Reading was a weekly magazine published by John Cassell. It was “designed for the defence and promotion of biblical truth and the advance of religion in the homes of the people”. Another goal was that it would bring about “intellectual, moral and..Read More

1902
1902

Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter

Helen Beatrix Potter (28 July 1866 – 22 December 1943) was an English writer, illustrator, natural scientist and conservationist; she was best known for her children’s books featuring animals, such as those in The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Born into an upper-middle-class household, Potter was educated by governesses and grew up..Read More

1906
1906

The Boy’s Own Paper – 1906

The Boy’s Own Paper – 1906

The Boy’s Own Paper was a British story paper aimed at young and teenage boys, published from 1879 to 1967. It was published by the Religious Tract Society, as a means to encourage younger children to read and to instill Christian morals during their formative years. The first issue was published..Read More

1918
1918

Norman Lindsay and The Magic Pudding

Norman Lindsay and The Magic Pudding

“The Magic Pudding is a pie, except when it’s something else, like a steak, or a jam donut, or an apple dumpling, or whatever its owner wants it to be. And it never runs out. No matter how many slices you cut, there’s always something left over. It’s magic.” The..Read More

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Thank you for ‘virtually visiting’ this component of our exhibition ILLUMINATED: The Art of Children’s Book Illustration. We would love your feedback about your visit. This feedback will guide future planning.
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This exhibition is kindly sponsored by