from The New Book of Knowledge®
Beautiful children dressed in the charming style of the early 1800's: Long flowing dresses, ribbons and bows, pinafores and hats, buttoned trousers and ruffled shirts. These are the boys and girls drawn by the author and illustrator Kate Greenaway.
Catherine Greenaway was born in London, England, on March 17, 1846. Her mother was a shopkeeper. Her father was a well-known wood engraver. As a child, Kate showed a talent for drawing. At age 12 she began formal art training.
Greenaway began her career designing greeting cards and illustrating the works of other writers. For her first book, Under the Window (1878), she wrote verses to accompany a collection of her drawings. It was an immediate success. Later books for which she supplied both text and illustrations include Language of Flowers (1884), Marigold Garden (1885), and A—Apple Pie (1886). She also illustrated The Queen of the Pirate Isle (1880), by American author Bret Harte, and The Pied Piper of Hamelin (1888), by English poet Robert Browning.
The charm of Greenaway's children caught the fancy of the public. Her style influenced the fashion world of her day. Her illustrations were used on such items as greeting cards, china, buttons, embroidery patterns, dolls, and even wallpaper. Her work was exhibited at the Fine Art Society in London. In 1898 she was elected to the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolors.
Kate Greenaway died in London on November 6, 1901. Her quaint illustrations helped change the appearance of children's books, making them more entertaining and enjoyable.
Susan Ruth Thomson
Author, A Catalogue of the Kate Greenaway Collection, Rare Book Room, Detroit Public Library