The Illustrations of Kate Greenaway – Celebrating 175 Years

Born in Oxford, England, on the 17th March in 1846, Katherine Greenaway would go on to become one of the most prolific women illustrators of the 20th century. Through her whimsical children’s illustrations, she would bring a new lease of life to turn-of-the-century illustration and is now world-renowned as one of the best ‘Golden Age Illustrators’.

Her career began in the late 1870s when block printer Edmund Evans began printing her original piece of work ‘Under the Window‘ – one of the two books that she both wrote and illustrated, with the other being Marigold Garden in 1885. With her truly unique style, she created her own ‘Greenaway Children’, who were dressed in her own versions of late-eighteenth-century and Regency fashions: smock-frocks and skeleton suits for boys, high-waisted pinafores and dresses with mobcaps and straw bonnets for girls. By the late 19th century, ‘Greenaway Children’ were so ubiquitous, that Liberty of London adapted Kate Greenaway’s drawings as designs for actual children’s clothes. Following on from this, a full generation of mothers in liberal-minded “artistic” British circles – who called themselves “The Souls” and embraced the Arts and Crafts movement – dressed their daughters in Kate Greenaway pantaloons and bonnets.

In celebration of her 175th birthday, we’ve collected some of the most beautiful illustrations of Kate Greenaway from her illustrious career.

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Books featuring Kate Greenaway: