Walter Crane, Kate Greenaway and Randolph Caldecott in Letchworth's Magic in the Nursery

By Ben Miller | 05 January 2011
An image of a childrens' illustration
© Letchworth Museum and Art Gallery
Exhibition: Magic in the Nursery, Letchworth Museum and Art Gallery, Letchworth, January 15 – February 26 2011

The impressively-moustachioed 19th century socialist, Walter Crane, is widely considered the visionary founding father of the modern children’s picture book. His fables brimmed with colour and charm, standing alongside works by Kate Greenaway, a painter who was one of the only artists of the time capable of matching Crane’s influence on the genre.

The images they created have stood the test of 150 years under the eyes of young readers, and this touring exhibition celebrates that longevity through musical instruments and singalong sections, aiming to use poetry and music to inspire storytelling and learning.

An image of a childrens' illustration
Kate Greenaway, Under the Window, from Little Polly (1878)© Letchworth Museum and Art Gallery
The sense of vibrancy in the paintings is added to by the works of Randolph Caldecott, a peer of Crane and Greenaway who was a fixture at the Royal Academy of Arts during the latter half of the 19th century, exhibiting cartoons, sketches, topical cartoons and works in oil and watercolour.

The show also acts as the catalyst for a range of events for children during the February half-term, including printmaking, rhymes, stories and tours.

Events run February 24-25 2011. Admission £1.50, advance booking required.
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