Biography

Kate Greenaway Biography

Greenaway, Kate – English Illustrator and Author, 1846-1901

Kate Greenaway
Kate Greenaway

Born Catherine Greenaway, Kate Greenaway be one of the most important and influential illustrator for children of the late nineteenth century, despite shyness and avoidance of publicity. Indeed, a whole industry, which included china, fabrics, wallpaper, children’s clothing, and dolls, grew up around her book such as Under the Window (1879), The Language of Flowers (1884), and A Day in a Child’s Life (1881). The fast nation with the innocent childhood world she pi continues to this day.

kate Greenaway’s father, a wood engraver, had worked as an apprentice with Edmund Evans, the man who would have such an influence on children’s book publishing in the late nineteenth century. Like Kate, John Greenaway was a gentle soul who loved children but who was not financially astute. When the family finances suffered, Kate’s mother, Elizabeth, responded by opening a chil­dren’s clothing shop stocked with designs she made and sewed herself. The loose-fitting, flowing garments she created were meant as an antidote to the tightly fitting fashions of the day, and Elizabeth’s ideas about dress were reflected in the clothing Kate would make famous through her illustrations.

Kate Greenaway’s father, a wood engraver, had worked as an apprentice with Edmund Evans, the man who would have such an influence on children’s book publishing in the late nineteenth century. Like Kate, John Greenaway was a gentle soul who loved children but who was not financially astute. When the family finances suffered, Kate’s mother, Elizabeth, responded by opening a chil­dren’s clothing shop stocked with designs she made and sewed herself. The loose-fitting, flowing garments she created were meant as an antidote to the tightly fitting fashions of the day, and Elizabeth’s ideas about dress were reflected in the clothing Kate would make famous through her illustrations.

Pied Piper Hamerlin Kate Greenaway
The Pied Piper Hamerlin, Kate Greenaway. First edition, 1888

She came to be more widely known both in Britain and in America for her greeting card designs, in which her attention to detail of costume stemming from her work as a clothing designer and seamstress was highly valued. Eventually, John Green-may introduced Kate to Edmund Evans, who by then lad achieved success in color printing and was working with Walter Crane and Randolph Caldecott. Evans was struck by Kate’s sense of color and line as well is her detail of costume and setting, and he persuaded George Routledge to publish Under the Window in 1879. This was followed by many other books of rhymes, songs, and stories, which firmly established her reputa­tion around the world.

She came to be more widely known both in Britain and in America for her greeting card designs, in which her attention to detail of costume stemming from her work as a clothing designer and seamstress was highly valued. Eventually, John Green-may introduced Kate to Edmund Evans, who by then lad achieved success in color printing and was working with Walter Crane and Randolph Caldecott. Evans was struck by Kate’s sense of color and line as well is her detail of costume and setting, and he persuaded George Routledge to publish Under the Window in 1879. This was followed by many other books of rhymes, songs, and stories, which firmly established her reputa­tion around the world.

Perhaps this was meant as an antidote to the gloomy and somber settings of the Gothic-revival peri­od her books followed. More likely, however, the world she pictured was the world Kate remembered so loving­ly from her own childhood. She frankly admitted that she didn’t want to grow up and leave that happy time, and it was her artistic skill combined with her memory and imagination that appealed to her contemporaries as well as to the many generations since who have loved her books.

Source: Children’s Books and their Creators, Anita Silvey.

 

 

Kate Greenaway 2

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