Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Crane, Walter

(1845-1915) UK artist, a senior member of the celebrated triumvirate of 1870s-80s classic nursery-rhyme illustrators. During 1865-1876 he designed and illustrated over 40 sixpenny toybooks of nursery-rhymes in colour. Many of these pictures showed the influence of Japanese art and colour prints. Two of Crane's most ambitious and popular titles were the two songbooks The Baby's Own Opera (1877) and The Baby's Bouquet (1879), where the music was perfectly worked into the decorative scheme. Besides designing the volumes, he calligraphed the text, humorously incorporating the hieroglyph of a crane that acted as his signature to every picture. The two titles were assembled with The Baby's Own Aesop (1887) as Triplets (omni 1889). The First of May: A Fairy Masque (1881) by John R Wise, with text and decorations reproduced by photogravure, was one of Crane's most beautiful and expensive productions. He illustrated the translation Household Stories from Grimm (1882) by Lucy Crane, his sister. The "Goose Girl" picture from this volume was reproduced in tapestry by William Morris, and is now in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

WC illustrated many children's books, including 16 by Mrs Molesworth (see Children's Fantasy). The finest of his adult book Illustrations appear in editions of Edmund Spenser's The Fairy Queene (1894-1896) and The Shepheardes Calendar (1898). [RD]

Walter Crane


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.