The Art & Illustration of Walter Crane edited by Jeff A. Menges is one of the newest releases of Golden Age illustrators from Dover Publications. The Dover books are an economical way to collect overviews of the works of many illustrators from Arthur Rackham to Edmund Dulac to Gustave Dore to Warwick Goble and others. They are easily SurLaLune bestsellers, too, especially Arthur Rackham who appears to be beloved by just about everyone. This collection of Crane's work is a worthy addition to the series. Jeff was kind enough to send me a review copy and I wanted to share it with you today.
Here's the product description:
This original collection of more than 100 images commemorates the artistry of a prominent figure from the Golden Age of Illustration. It surveys Crane's best paintings and offers a visual history of the first color illustrations for children's books, with scenes from fairy and folk tales and classics by Shakespeare, Hawthorne, and SpenserWalter Crane is one of my favorite Golden Age illustrators. His illustrations for Beauty and the Beast are the ones in my head from my childhood edition. I own several of his fairy tale books (later editions) and treasure each one. This collection from Dover is slim on the fairy tale illustrations but rich in his other works which makes it just perfect for me. It is one of the thicker of the Dover illustrator volumes, too, but not significantly higher priced, bless Dover. Also, some of the two page spread images from his fairy tale books are well-seamed and brilliantly colored.
Over 20 of Crane's books are represented in this collection, too many for me to list easily. Not all of these illustrations are available on the internet and seeing them in their original titles would mean trips to museums or rare libraries or buying collectible editions worth thousands of dollars. A new title studying Crane's work is due out early next year, Walter Crane: The Arts and Crafts, Painting, and Politics (Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in Britis) by Morna O'Neill, and it is priced at $75 retail as most art books are, justifiably so, but it is a treat to have Dover continuing their economical series. Thanks Jeff for helping that along, too.
Also, if you are still holiday shopping, don't forget By a Woman's Hand: Illustrators of the Golden Age (Dover Books on Fine Art). It is a wonderful collection, my favorite of the year, for I discovered some illustrators previously unknown to me. It is not exclusively comprised or fairy tale illustrations, but it is packed with them amongst the other inspirations, so it will appeal to fairy tale and illustration fans alike. And every purchase is a vote to Dover to keep producing these wonderful books. I'm hoping for a Jessie Willcox Smith among others...