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A Frog he would a-wooing go

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A Frog he would a-wooing go
A Frog he would a-wooing go
This exhibition presents an example of the extraordinary illustration work by the acclaimed artist Randolph Caldecott (1846-1886). The book showcased in this exhibition titled, ‘A Frog he would a-wooing go’ was first published in 1883 as part of a series of highly successful picture books illustrated by Caldecott for children. His success continued throughout the 19th century and by 1884, sales of Caldecott's Nursery Rhymes, which by this point consisted of twelve books, reached 867,000 copies leading him to international acclaim. Despite his relatively short life time, Caldecott 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.

Books such as ‘A Frog he a-wooing go’ proved highly popular and were republished for eight Christmases. This book tells the story of a Frog, with the help of his friend the Rat, as he attempts to gain the affection of a Mouse. His books such as the one presented in this exhibition, are praised for their sense of fluidity and repeated phrases, which creates a sense of movement from one page to the other, a style which appeals to children. Caldecott is highly renowned for his work and is one of an influential trio with Walter Crane and Kate Greenway known as the ‘nursery triumvirate.’ These artists are considered to have changed the face of children’s literature. Not only do Caldecott’s books have a bright, humorous and inviting nature, their brilliance lies in his ability to express subtle but profound meaning in stories dominated by image and only supplemented with text.