Tuesday, 10 October 2017

The artist of socialism

Walter Crane (1845-1915) is today best known for his ornately illustrated 19th century children’s books. He designed artwork for the British master printer Edmund Evans in a variety of capacities for ten years, before Randolph Caldecott and Kate Greenaway joined him as Evans’ triumvirate of children’s Toy Book illustrators.

In life, Crane was inspired by the ideals of socialism and in particular the work of William Morris. Historian Isobel Spencer says that Morris was the great figurehead for socialism in the 19th century while Crane was the artist of socialism: ‘[Crane’s] designs were published in left-wing papers on the eve of workers’ rallies. They were sold separately to be pinned up in homes, factories, and meeting places, and they were stitched in the brilliant silks of trades-union banners.’ 

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