|Elizabeth Gordon (??? - ????)
Elizabeth Gordon books (Flower Children, Vegetable Children, etc.) feature animated creatures (i.e., Daisies or Carrots with human baby faces and hands) with short rhymes underneath each illustration. Information on her origins is hard to come by.
|Margaret Tarrant (England, 1888-1959)
began her professional career drawing Christmas Cards but in 1908
illustrated Kingsley’s The Water Babies. The success of the book
established her reputation as an imaginative illustrator. She like many
other illustrators of the day was active drawing post card images. She also
did posters, greeting cards, and calendars. Her 1916 edition of Alice's
Adventures in Wonderland was also well received. She worked with Marion St
John Webb on a series of Flower Fairy books in the 1920’s that proved very
popular. Her drawings are often of fantasy scenes, but she also did many
realistic images of contemporary children.
|Gustaf Tenggren (Sweden, 1896-1970)
His early schooling and artistic influences were solidly grounded in Scandinavian techniques, motifs and myths. At the age of 20 he was the illustrator for Bland Tomtar och Troll (Among Elves and Trolls), a famous Swedish Christmas annual for children. He illustrated the fairy tales by Swedish artists in the annual from 1917 through 1926 - the last six years from America. His career was about to take a dramatic turn and his style was never to be the same. In 1936, Tenggren went to work for Walt Disney where You can see his work throughout Snow White and in many of the richly detailed urban backgrounds of Pinocchio, for which his Scandinavian heritage and experience were obviously drawn upon. Not four years after his elegant contributions to Disney, Tenggren exploded upon the book market with many, many illustrated books. He died in 1970 leaving behind a half century of art that continues to amaze and entertain to this day.
|Edmund Dulac (France, 1882-1953)
Dulac grew dissatisfied with law school and enrolled full-time in the Ecole des Beaux Arts. He won the 1901 and 1903 Grand Prix for his paintings submitted to the annual competitions. A scholarship took him to Paris and the Académie Julien where he stayed for three weeks. That same year he left for London his career really took off. Of all the great gift book illustrators, Dulac remained the most active throughout his life. They weren't as ornate or as frequent, but The Green Lacquer Pavilion (1925), Treasure Island (1927), A Fairy Garland (1928), The Daughters of the Stars (1939), The Golden Cockerel (1950), The Marriage of Cupid and Psyche (1951) and Comus (1954) far surpassed the output of any of his contemporaries. The last three on that list were published as deluxe signed editions by The Limited Editions Club and the last was published posthumously.
|Jessie Willcox Smith (USA, 1863-1935)
She originally studied to be a kindergarten teacher and actually served in that capacity before accidentally discovering a propensity for drawing. She was probably around 20 before she took up a pencil. Initial studies were quickly replaced with formal courses at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts where she learned from Thomas Eakins, and others. She graduated in 1888 and began a long, distinguished career. Her earliest work appeared in the monthly magazine for children, St. Nicholas. Some of her best-loved books were A Child's Book of Stories (1911), The Water-Babies (1916), At the Back of the North Wind@ (1919), and Boys and Girls of Bookland (1923). Others that carried through the child motif were: Dickens' Children (1912), The Everyday Fairy Book (1915), A Child's Book of Modern Stories (1920) and several others in that "Child's Book" series. She was America's premier female illustrator during most of her life.
|Henriette Willebeek Le Mair
Her father enjoyed sketching and would often draw pictures for the children while he told them stories at night. Her mother also painted and wrote verse. She also studied under a drawing-master in Holland. He required her to draw the model while it danced in circles, first at a slow speed, then at increased speeds. In her early twenties she ran a exclusive nursery school in her home and drew from this experience for much of her work, using her pupils as her models just as Cicely Mary Barker did. Between 1911 and 1917, Le Mair was the pre-eminent illustrator of her time although she only illustrated fourteen books in all. After her marriage in 1920 she joined the Sufi movement and became more and more interested in Eastern culture, concentrating less on her illustration. She also designed children's breakfast sets for the Gouda pottery from about 1923. She died 15 March 1966. An exhibition of her books and drawings was held at Bethnal Green Museum in London, England, in 1975.
|Arthur Rackham (England, 1867-1939)
He was one of twelve children. He studied at the City of London School where he won prizes and a reputation for his art. At the age of 18, he became a clerk. It was, after all, a Dickensian world as well, where clerks played a significant role in both fiction and real life. He clerked and in his spare time studied at the Lambeth School of Art. Through the teens and twenties he continued to create wonderful images and books. Many of vellum-bound limited editions of the era are from Rackham. Many of his books were revised and re-released. There was even a Peter Pan portfolio. It seems like every classic was fair game for him. Through 1940 he did versions of Aesop's Fables, Mother Goose, A Christmas Carol, The Romance of King Arthur, English Fairy Tales, Cinderella, The Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel, Irish Fairy Tales, A Fairy Book, The Allies Fairy Book, Comus, A Wonder Book, The Tempest, The Vicar of Wakefield, The Chimes, The Night Before Christmas, The Compleat Angler, The Arthur Rackham Fairy Book, Tales of Mystery and Imagination, The King of the Golden River, Goblin Market, The Pied Piper, Peer Gynt, The Wind in the Willows and more.
|Warwick Goble (England, 1862-1943)
He was raised in London, went to The City of London School (just five years ahead of Rackham) and attended the Westminster School School of Art. He worked for a printer that did chromolithography and contributed to the Pall Mall Gazette and the Westminster Gazette, illustrated papers of the day.His watercolors were the perfect vehicle for the new illustrated books of the early 20th century. He was exhibiting at the Royal Academy as early as 1893, so this appears to have been his focus. It wasn't until 1896 (at the age of 34!) that he began dabbling at illustrating books. His third book was H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds in 1898. strong market had sprung up for color plate books, especially fantasy and fairy tale subjects. Goble, well-versed in watercolor techniques and very influenced by the same Japanese techniques that fascinated Dulac, was perfectly suited to the task of producing the plates. Whereas he'd done about five books in the ten years from 1897 to 1907, he produced about ten books in the five years from 1909 to 1913. Starting with an edition of The Water Babies in 1909, followed closely by Green Willow and Other Japanese Fairy Tales in 1910, these were some of the most lavishly illustrated books of the day. Water Babies had 32 color plates and Green Willow, 40. Goble's art occasionally rose to the classic level and often was only competent. His color sense and his watercolor techniques were always of the highest caliber. He created some truly memorable images.