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Caldecott, Randolph

Caldecott, Randolph
Caldecott, Randolph
Caldecott, Randolph
About the Artist
Caldecott, Randolph
Biography
Randolph Caldecott (1846-1886) began his career as a banker but after realising his passion and innate artistic ability, moved to London at the age of 26 where he worked as an illustrator-journalist for the Illustrated London News. Caldecott dabbled in a bit of painting and sculpting but found early success mainly through drawing humorous cartoons and sketches of a political nature. Caldecott experienced further achievement when he was elected to the Royal Institute of Watercolour Painting in 1872 and then had a picture exhibited in the Royal Academy in 1876.

In 1877, Caldecott was commissioned to produce illustrations for two children's Christmas books: The House that Jack Built and The Diverting History of John Gilpin. The stories and rhymes were all of Caldecott's choosing and in some cases were written or added to by him. By 1884, sales of Caldecott's Nursery Rhymes, which consisted of twelve books, reached 867,000 copies leading him to international fame. Unfortunately, on a trip to America intended to improve his health, Caldecott developed acute gastritis and died at St Augustine, Florida, on 13 February 1886, at the age of 39.

Caldecott is best known for creating sixteen picture books that feature traditional nursery rhymes and songs and eighteenth-century comedic poems. Serving as a notable member of the illustrious triumvirate of English artists alongside Walter Crane and Kate Greenaway, Caldecott's work has had a profound impact on children's literature by providing viewers with illustrations that are aesthetically instructive rather than simply entertaining. In honour of the highly regarded works of Caldecott, every year since 1938 the Caldecott Medal has been awarded by the American Library Association to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. Maurice Sendak, who won the Caldecott Medal in 1964 for Where the Wild Things Are, described Caldecott as the mastermind of the modern picture book due to his innovative juxtaposition of words and pictures.
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