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A sketch-book of R. Caldecott's

of 292
A sketch-book of R. Caldecott's
A sketch-book of R. Caldecott's
This exhibition presents an example of illustration work by the artist Randolph Caldecott (1846-1886). Caldecott is best known for his illustrations of nursery rhymes which brought him international acclaim. Despite his relatively short life time, Caldecott’s work is considered to have transformed children’s books during the Victorian era, a period which is considered the ‘Golden age’ of illustration with the influence of artists like Caldecott still resonating today. Caldecott is considered part of the influential ‘nursery triumvirate’, along with Walter Crane and Kate Greenway. Following the popularity of these authors it became the norm for children’s books to be dominated by image over text.

This volume of sketches by Caldecott attempts to capture raw human nature and the variety of everyday life for Caldecott’s subjects through the seasons. Caldecott was proficient in creating a narrative quality in his pictures. He depicts scenes of local country life, with images of people partaking in different activities, the natural scenery around them, as well as a variety of different animals that interact with human life. This sketchbook contains a mixture of vibrant colour and monochrome sketches capturing views, figures and animals.

Every image exemplifies Caldecott's dedication to depicting the finer details and his clear fondness for depicting his subjects as they were, in their natural environment.

This exhibition of sketches provides us with an insight into Caldecott’s working practices: his consistent fondness for nature, his sense of humour, and his ability to render scenes with both attention to detail and fluidity conjuring up a story with each scene. As the collection progresses through the seasons, Caldecott reminds us all through these playful images of the circle of life and how the seasons will return one after the other, perhaps offering consolation to the reader through darker times.