Greenaway, Kate (1846–1901)
Greenaway, Kate (1846–1901)
English illustrator of children's books whose particular style proved widely influential, making her a household name at home and abroad and spawning a host of imitators. Born on March 17, 1846, in Hoxton, London, England; died on November 6, 1901, in Frognal, Hampstead, London, of breast cancer; daughter of John Greenaway (an engraver and woodcut maker) and Elizabeth (Jones) Greenaway; studied at the Finsbury School of Art, the National Art Training School, Heatherley's School of Art, and Slade School of Art; never married; no children.
Published first book illustration (1867); established herself as a freelance illustrator (c. 1872); achieved independent success with Under the Window (1879); published Kate Greenaway's Birthday Book (1880).
Under the Window: Pictures and Rhymes for Children (Routledge, 1878); (verses by Mrs. Sale Barker) Kate Greenaway's Birthday Book for Children (Routledge, 1880); Art Hours: After Kate Greenaway (McLoughlin, 1882); Steps to Art: After Kate Greenaway (McLoughlin, 1882); Kate Greenaway's Almanack for 1883–95, 1897 (14 volumes, Routledge, 1882–96); Language of Flowers (Routledge, 1884, featured in The Complete Kate Greenaway, Century House, 1967); Kate Greenaway's Alphabet (Routledge, 1885); Marigold Garden: Pictures and Rhymes (Routledge, 1885); A Apple Pie (Routledge, 1886); Kate Greenaway's Book of Games (Routledge, 1889); Kate Greenaway's Pictures from Originals Presented by Her to John Ruskin and Other Personal Friends (F. Warne, 1921); (ed. by Edward Ernest and Patricia Tracy Lowe) The Kate Greenaway Treasury: An Anthology of the Illustrations and Writings of Kate Greenaway (World Publishing, 1967); (ed. by Bryan Holme) The Kate Greenaway Book (Viking, 1976).
Diamonds and Toads, in the "Aunt Louisa's London Toy Books" series (F. Warne, 1871); Marie Aulnoy, Madame d'Aulnoy's Fairy Tales (9 vols., Gall & Inglis, 1871); Aunt Cae (pseudonym of Henry Courtney Selous), The Children of the Parsonage (Griffith & Farran, 1874); Kathleen Knox, Fairy Gifts; Or, A Wallet of Wonders (Griffith & Farran, 1874); Knox, Seven Birthdays; Or, The Children of Fortune ([London], 1875); (with Walter Crane) Quiver of Love: A Collection of Valentines, M. Ward (1876); Fanny LaBlanche, Starlight Stories Told to Bright Eyes (Griffith & Farran, 1877); Lady Colin Campbell (pseudonym of G.E. Brunefille), Topo (M. Ward, 1878); Charlotte Mary Yonge, Heir of Redclyffe (Macmillan, 1879); Yonge, Heartsease (Macmillan, 1879); George Weatherly, The "Little Folks" Painting Book (Cassell, 1879); Mother Goose; Or, The Old Nursery Rhymes (Routledge, 1881); Myles Birket Foster, Day in a Child's Life (Routledge, 1881); Ann and Jane Taylor, Little Ann and Other Poems (Routledge, 1882); Montgomerie Ranking and Thomas K. Tully, Flowers and Fancies: Valentines Ancient and Modern (M. Ward, 1882); Helen Zimmern, Tales from the Edda (Sonnenschein, 1883); (with others) Robert Ellice, compiler, Songs for the Nursery: A Collection of Children's Poems, Old and New (W. Mack, 1884); William Mavor, English Spelling Book (Routledge, 1884); John Ruskin, ed., Dame Wiggins of Lee and Her Seven Wonderful Cats (G. Allen, 1885); Bret Harte, The Queen of the Pirate Isle (Chatto & Windus, 1886); William Allingham, Rhymes for the Young Folk (Cassell, 1887); Robert Browning, The Pied Piper of Hamelin (Routledge, 1888); Beatrice F. Cresswell, Royal Progress of King Pepito (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1889); Mary Annette Arnim, April Baby's Book of Tunes (Macmillan, 1900); Mabel H. Speilmann, Littledom Castle and Other Tales (Dutton, 1903). Contributor to various magazines, including Little Folks and Illustrated London News.
The early years of Kate Greenaway's life could not have been further removed from the idyllic depictions of childhood for which she would achieve fame. Her father John Greenaway, a respected woodcut maker and engraver, had established his own business shortly before her birth, having been offered the job of engraving plates for a series of illustrations for Charles Dickens' Pickwick Papers. To avoid distracting her husband from his task, Elizabeth Greenaway took the infant Kate and her elder sister to stay with relatives in a village some 200 miles away. It was two years before they were reunited, by which time John's business was beginning to fail, forcing him to take any work he could find and to move the family into less salubrious surroundings in a new working-class district of London. The Greenaway fortunes began to improve only when Elizabeth opened a millinery shop, where, despite two further children, she proved to be an astute and capable businesswoman who became the breadwinner.
By all accounts, Kate was an imaginative and sensitive child, given to inventing games with her older sister as they played near their home along streets busy with shoppers, vendors, and colorful entertainers. Tenacious enough to save her farthing pocket-money for 24 weeks to buy a piece of furniture for her dolls' house, she could be strong willed, stubborn, and given to displays of emotion. Though she enjoyed her visits to the theater with her father, she was often unable to separate events on stage from real life, embarrassing her siblings by her unrestrained reactions. Despite life's early hardships, Kate would later write: "I had such a very happy time when I was a child, and curiously, was so very much happier than my brother and sisters, with exactly the same surroundings."
A religious and puritanical woman, Elizabeth Greenaway wanted a better life for her children and used some of the profits of her success to pay for private French and piano lessons. Kate, however, was more fascinated with her father's craft and persuaded her mother to pay for evening classes in art. Such was her talent that, at the age of 12, she was accepted as a full-time pupil in the Finsbury School of Art where she began the National Course of Art Instruction. This was a program dedicated to the production, not of fine artists or sculptors, but of men and women with the design skills to work with industry in ensuring good taste in the panoply of manufactured goods essential to the ornamentation of a Victorian home. Through a rigorously structured curriculum, the students engaged in the repetitive copying of geometric shapes and architectural features, produced clay ornaments, and painted watercolors of stuffed animals. Kate thrived on this disciplined restrictiveness, winning medals which included a national award for tile designs at the end of her six-year studies.
In 1865, Greenaway elected to continue her studies at the National Art Training School, a more fashionable center committed to the promotion of design skills above fine art training. Though her class, shyness, and general lack of glamour meant exclusion from the dominant social cliques of well-born young ladies there, Kate proceeded to win another national award, this time for a watercolor of a young boy's head. This daytime training she supplemented with evening classes in life-study at Heatherley's School of Art, one of the few progressive institutions which allowed women to study from the nude in the same room as the male students. But the heavy emphasis on individualistic style confused Kate after her years of regimented design training. She left to enroll at the Slade School of Art.
Throughout these years of study, Kate spent many vacations with her family in Rolleston Village, where the heavy influence of the English countryside, combined with her training in design, formed the basis for the popular Greenaway style. By the time her studies were completed, she had already published her first book illustration in the 1867 Infant Amusements, or How to Make a Nursery Happy and had exhibited drawings of fairies and gnomes at the Dudley Gallery in London. With sufficient commissions to establish herself as an illustrator by the early 1870s, she began to work freelance from her parents' home.
Her treatment of quaint early nineteenth-century costume, prim gardens, and the child-like spirit of her designs in an old-world atmosphere … captivated the public in a remarkable way.
The greeting-card industry had seen phenomenal growth over the previous few years as the Victorian public clamored for cards at Christmas, Valentine's Day and other holidays. Kate soon established a successful collaboration with the leading manufacturer, Ward, after her first design for a Valentine achieved sales of 25,000 within a few weeks. A shrewd instinct for popular taste led to the development of a successful style which depicted a romantic vision of children in historical dress, set against a plain background with an ornate border. From her alliance with Ward, Greenaway gained valuable experience, not just in the creation of workable, mass-market designs, but also in the business skills she would require as a young woman working alone. As workload and income increased, Kate and her father jointly rented a large house in a more sedate area where a small studio was established. Guided by him, her work began to focus upon illustrations for children's books.
In 1877, Greenaway's fortunes changed dramatically. For years, she had dreamed of illustrating a book of simple verse which she had written since childhood. Despite misgivings, John Greenaway was enchanted when he saw Kate's efforts and introduced his daughter to Edmund Evans, a printer who had achieved renown for his color publications and who was familiar with the children's book market. He had previously produced works by Walter Crane and Randolph Caldecott, the leading children's artists of the day. After some debate with his associate, George Routledge, Evans undertook to publish Greenaway's book, once the verses had been "tidied up" by another, more respected poet, Frederick Locker. Meanwhile Kate, by now experienced in such matters, ensured a contract of lucrative terms. Under the Window, published just in time for Christmas 1879, was an instant success. Evans' gamble in a large print run of 20,000 copies paid off when the first edition sold out within a few weeks, establishing Kate Greenaway as a household name. The commendatory reviews in fashionable journals ensured a broader purchasing market by inspiring belief in the collectability of the book and its future status as a children's classic. Within Greenaway's lifetime, over 100,000 copies were sold in English, French, and German.
The great success of Under the Window with its clean, pastel illustrations and sparse design "suggests that Kate had judged her public shrewdly," writes Rodney Engen. "Her book appealed to children as well as to fashion-struck aesthetes of the burgeoning Aesthetic Movement." With its nonsensical verse, cherubic, archaically dressed children, and evident intent to amuse, not inform, the book provided a contrast to the plethora of gaudily colored, instructive texts on the shelves. But it was not without its critics, primary amongst them Henry Stacy Marks, a renowned book illustrator, who lost no time in criticizing Greenaway's "naive defiance of all rules of composition." Kate accepted his comments humbly and in future sent him copies of her work for review.
Throughout her life, Greenaway sought the guidance and approbation of older males, beginning with her father, the primary guide for her career; the Reverend W.J. Loftie who purchased her works; Stacy Marks; and, most important of all—the art critic, John Ruskin. Though evidently capable of managing her own business relations, she often deferred to her mentors—financially secure men who did not understand the realities of life for a working woman. On many
occasions, they implored Greenaway not to work so hard, to take rests and breaks and to treat her work more like a dilettante. Yet Kate cultivated these pupil-master relationships, at the heart of which was her firmly held belief in the lower status of women. As she grew older, she became exasperated by the women's suffrage movement—"I don't want a vote myself.… For my part I do feel the men can do it better and so hope it may remain," she wrote. Almost more infuriating was the idea of being classed a "lady artist"—a group whose ranks she refused to join when an exhibition of women's art was held to mark "Victoria year," 1897. She wrote to a friend, "Now why can't we just take our places fairly—get just our right amount of credit and no more. Of course we shouldn't get the first places—for the very simple and just reason—that we don't deserve them."
It was Stacy Marks who provided an introduction to Ruskin, whose critical voice continued to wield great power, even though he was now in self-imposed semi-retirement. From his house in the picturesque Lake District, Ruskin managed an incredible number of epistolary relationships, mainly with unattached women, upon whom he lavished his advice and guidance in tones ranging from the paternal to the overtly flirtatious. In January 1880, Greenaway became a new beneficiary of his patronism when she received a gushingly appreciative letter, thus beginning the association which would dominate her life. With her burgeoning fame, she was swept into a different world from the beginning of the decade, finding herself at dinners with such literary greats as Robert Browning, or artists like Edward Burne-Jones, as she was inundated with requests for her presence at society events. The publication of Kate Greenaway's Birthday Book in the autumn of 1880 reassured her position as a leading illustrator when sales reflected its critical and popular acclaim.
But Kate was soon to experience the less enjoyable effect of fame: imitation. By the early 1880s, the shop windows were full of plagiarized Greenaway children, often engaged in activities—like pipe-smoking—which would curl the hair of their angelic prototypes. "It feels so
queer, somehow, to see your ideas taken by someone else and put forth as theirs," wrote Kate to a friend. The loose, light Regency costumes of her figures provided a refreshing contrast to current, formal fashions, and this inspired another market. In England and in France, fashionable types began to dress their offspring "a la mode Greenaway," a vogue which continued into the 20th century. But the supreme accolade and acknowledgment of her fame came with the invitation, in 1881, to bring her sketchbook to Buckingham Palace, where she entertained the young princes and princesses with her skills.
Mother Goose, or the Old Nursery Rhymes, published at Christmas of that year, signified the first small decline in Greenaway's popularity. Evans' haste to ensure that the book would arrive on time for the holiday, coupled with Kate's lack of control over the production of her work, resulted in poorly printed copies. And though the press received the book with enthusiasm, Greenaway and her mentor, Locker, were disappointed by the results. A Day in a Child's Life, a book of piano music, bordered by Greenaway illustrations, was less well received. "Miss Greenaway seems to be lapsing into a rather lackadaisical prettiness of style. Her little people are somewhat deficient in vitality" was the response of The Times.
The relationship with Ruskin was by now Greenaway's primary obsession outside of her work. With only infrequent meetings, he insinuated himself as her dominant critic through a voluminous correspondence. Kate wrote to him almost daily from the notepad she kept on her desk to jot down thoughts or observations she believed would interest or amuse him. Ruskin, in return, became one of her keenest champions. He went so far as to claim, in an 1883 lecture at Oxford, that she was one of the great artists of all time who could be a savior from the prevailing industrial grimness. In private, he encouraged Kate to return to drawing from nature, suggesting that she improve her technique with drawings of her "girlies" without their Greenaway garb. Undoubtedly Kate's devotion was inspired by romance—the only such attachment of her life. Ruskin solicited her affections with demands for "love letters" and the instigation of postal "kissing games." But this was to be the extent of Kate's romantic life—she never married and had no other suitors.
From 1883 to 1897, with the exception of one year, the Kate Greenaway Almanack became an institution with collectors and the general public alike. American sales had now expanded, French and German copies were immediately available, and Kate's publishers continued to capitalize on her widespread popularity. By the end of 1884, her early card designs had been reissued in the Baby's Birthday Book, the Kate Greenaway Painting Book had been published using earlier illustrations, and her new works, The Language of Flowers and The English Spelling Book, were on the shelves. A move to a house on the edge of Hampstead Heath brought new financial burdens for Greenaway, by now the breadwinner of the family. Her brother described her monotonous routine of work: long days spent alone in her studio, struggling for the inspiration to produce original ideas for her latest projects. By now, Kate was becoming disillusioned with her role as illustrator, depressed by the imitations she saw everywhere, and keen to move onto other work. The Marigold Garden, a book of her own verse, and illustrations inspired by Gainsborough, took nearly two years of her time, and was published in 1885. The book was not a commercial success, and the lukewarm reception of the following year's Almanack were evidence that her career was in decline.
Allingham, Helen Patterson (1848–1926)
English watercolorist and illustrator. Born Helen Patterson on September 26, 1848; died at Haslemere in 1926; daughter of A.H. Paterson (a doctor); attended the Birmingham School of Design and the Royal Academy Schools; married William Allingham (the Irish poet), in 1874.
Influenced by the work of Fred Walker, Helen Allingham devoted her illustrations to domestic and rural life. She achieved her first success at age 26 by illustrating the serialization of Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd for The Cornhill Magazine (1874). A rarity among woman artists in Victorian England, Allingham was extremely popular and was frequently given one-woman shows by the Fine Art Society in the 1880s and 1890s. She also illustrated books of Juliana Horatia Ewing , including A Flat Iron for a Farthing (1872) and Jan of the Windmill (1876). Her Angelika Kauffmann in the Studio of Joshua Reynolds was painted in 1875.
Huish, H.B. Happy England as Painted by H.A. 1903.
By the end of the decade, Greenaway was searching for new sources of income and had even resorted to the sale of one of her pictures as an advertisement for Pears soap. Further financial burdens were placed upon the artist following the death of her father in 1891. Her income provided from royalties could no longer cover the costs of keeping a large house and family. Guided by a sense of artistic mission and hoping to make money, Kate focused her attention on watercolor painting. She spent days in the countryside working alongside her friend, the successful watercolorist, Helen Allingham , where the two depicted romantic images of English cottages and idealized country life. But an 1891 sale of Greenaway's works proved disappointing when the watercolors were largely overlooked in favor of her earlier designs. In a sale three years later, the older works from her studio were again snapped up, while more recent pieces were criticized for being excessively influenced by (though inferior to) Allingham's. The loneliness of Kate's later years was eased by the friendship of Violet Dickinson , lively and 20 years younger, who encouraged her to venture out of the seclusion of her studio. Later to be known as the lover of Virginia Woolf , Violet replaced Ruskin in Kate's affections, to become the recipient of her frequent illustrated notes and letters.
In 1899, Kate was told that she had breast cancer for which immediate surgery was needed. Informing her friends that she had a "bad cold," Greenaway continued to work, especially writing introspective and somber poetry while the cancer spread and eventually reached her lungs, causing her eventual death on November 6, 1901. For all of her deficiencies in skill—her poorly drawn animals, her skewed attempts at perspective—Kate Greenaway was one of the primary influences on children's illustration and children's publishing in general. The whimsical innocence of her little figures engaged in childish activities have inspired many. This singular and much-copied style retains its attraction for children today, while her original works have continued to attract high prices among collectors.
sources and suggested reading:
Alderson, Brian. Sing a Song of Sixpence: The English Picture Book Tradition and Randolph Caldecott. Cambridge, 1986.
Engen, Rodney. Kate Greenaway: A Biography. London: MacDonald Futura, 1981.
Spielmann, M.H., and G.S. Layard. Kate Greenaway. London: Adam and Charles Black, 1905.
Viguers, Ruth Hill. The Kate Greenaway Treasury. London: Collins, 1968.
Diane Moody , freelance writer, London, England
Given name originally Catherine; known to friends and relatives as K. G.; born March 17, 1846, in Hoxton, London, England; died of breast cancer, November 6, 1901, in Frognal, Hampstead, London; buried in Hampstead Cemetery; daughter of John (an engraver) and Elizabeth (Jones) Greenaway. Education: Privately educated; studied at the Slade School of Art, London. Hobbies and other interests: Gardening, walking her dog, reading.
Author and illustrator of children's books; designed Christmas cards, birthday cards, and valentines; also designed and sewed the dresses she used as models for her paintings. Exhibitions: Dudley Gallery, Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, England, 1868; Gallery of Fine Art Society, London, England, 1891, 1893, and 1898.
Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours.
In 1955, the Library Association of Great Britain established the "Kate Greenaway Medal," which is awarded annually to the artist living and publishing in Britain who has produced the most distinguished work in the illustration of children's books that year.
Under the Window: Pictures and Rhymes for Children (also see below), Routledge (London, England), 1878.
Kate Greenaway's Birthday Book for Children (includes verses by Sale Barker), Routledge (London, England), 1880, published as Kate Greenaway's Birthday Book, Derrydale (New York, NY), 1980.
Art Hours: After Kate Greenaway, McLoughlin (New York, NY), 1882.
Steps to Art: After Kate Greenaway, McLoughlin (New York, NY), 1882.
Kate Greenaway's Almanack for 1883-95, 1897, 14 volumes, Routledge (London, England), 1882-96.
Language of Flowers, Routledge (London, England), 1884, revised edition published as Kate Greenaway's "Language of Flowers," Gramercy (New York, NY), 1978, revised and expanded edition published as The Illuminated "Language of Flowers": Over Seven-Hundred Flowers and Plants Listed Alphabetically with Their Meanings (includes a text by Jean Marsh), Holt, 1978, reprinted under original title, Dover Publications (Mineola, NY), 1993.
Kate Greenaway's Alphabet, Routledge (London, England), 1885, reprinted, Cape, 1973.
Marigold Garden: Pictures and Rhymes (also see below), Routledge (London, England), 1885, Putnam (New York, NY), 2001.
A Apple Pie: An Old-Fashioned Alphabet Book (also see below), Routledge (London, England), 1886, Derrydale (New York, NY), 1993.
Kate Greenaway's Book of Games (also see below), Routledge (New York, NY), 1889, reprinted, Merrimack (New York, NY), 1990.
Diamonds and Toads, Warne (New York, NY), 1871.
Marie Aulnoy, Madame d'Aulnoy's Fairy Tales, 9 volumes, Gall & Inglis, 1871.
Aunt Cae, The Children of the Parsonage, Griffith & Farran (London, England), 1874.
Kathleen Knox, Fairy Gifts; or, A Wallet of Wonders, Griffith & Farran (London, England), 1874.
Kathleen Knox, Seven Birthdays; or, The Children of Fortune, [London], 1875.
(With Walter Crane) Quiver of Love: A Collection of Valentines, M. Ward, 1876.
Fanny LaBlanche, Starlight Stories Told to Bright Eyes, Griffith & Farran (London, England), 1877.
Lady Colin Campbell, Topo, M. Ward, 1878.
Charlotte Mary Yonge, Heir of Redclyffe, Macmillan (London, England), 1879.
Charlotte Mary Yonge, Heartsease, Macmillan (London, England), 1879.
George Weatherly, The "Little Folks" Painting Book, Cassell (London, England), 1879.
Mother Goose; or, The Old Nursery Rhymes (also see below), Routledge (London, England), 1881, published as Kate Greenaway's Mother Goose; or, The Old Nursery Rhymes, Penguin Putnam (New York, NY), 1988.
Myles Birket Foster, Day in a Child's Life, Routledge (London, England), 1881, Merrimack (New York, NY), 1986.
Ann and Jane Taylor, Little Ann and Other Poems, Routledge (London, England), 1882.
Montgomerie Ranking and Thomas K. Tully, Flowers and Fancies: Valentines Ancient and Modern, M. Ward, 1882.
Helen Zimmern, Tales from the Edda, Sonnenschein (London, England), 1883.
(With others) Songs for the Nursery: A Collection of Children's Poems, Old and New, compiled by Robert Ellice, W. Mack, 1884.
William Mavor, English Spelling Book, Routledge (London, England), 1884.
Dame Wiggins of Lee and Her Seven Wonderful Cats, edited by John Ruskin, George Allen (London, England), 1885.
Bret Harte, The Queen of the Pirate Isle, Chatto & Windus (London, England), 1886, reprinted, White Rose Press, 1987.
William Allingham, Rhymes for the Young Folk, Cassell (London, England), 1887.
Robert Browning, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, Routledge (London, England), 1888, Warne Frederick & Company (New York, NY), 2001.
Beatrice F. Cresswell, Royal Progress of King Pepito, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (London, England), 1889.
Mary Annette Arnim, April Baby's Book of Tunes, Macmillan (London, England), 1900.
Mabel H. Speilmann, Littledom Castle and Other Tales, Dutton (Boston, MA), 1903.
Charlotte Knopfli-Widmer, Mein Herz ist mein Zuhaus, Ambros, 1978.
Hans Christian Andersen, Kate Greenaway's Original Drawings for the Snow Queen, translation by Charles Boner, afterword by Michael Patrick Hearn, Schocken, 1981.
Contributor to various periodicals, including Little Folks, St. Nicholas, Graphic, and Illustrated London News.
POSTHUMOUSLY PUBLISHED COLLECTIONS
Kate Greenaway's Pictures from Originals Presented by Her to John Ruskin and Other Personal Friends, F. Warne (New York, NY), 1921.
The Kate Greenaway Treasury: An Anthology of the Illustrations and Writings of Kate Greenaway, edited by Edward Ernest and Patricia Tracy Lowe, introduction by Ruth Hill Viguers, World Publishing, 1967.
The Kate Greenaway Book, edited by Bryan Holme, Viking (New York, NY), 1976.
Kate Greenaway (collection of illustrations), Rizzoli (New York, NY), 1977.
(Illustrator, with Eugene Grasset) The Illuminated Book of Days, edited by Kay and Marshall Lee, Putnam (New York, NY), 1979.
Kate Greenaway's Family Treasury (contains selections from A Apple Pie, Book of Games, Marigold Garden, Mother Goose, and Under the Window), Derrydale (New York, NY), 1979.
Kate Greenaway (collection of illustrations contained in the Frances Hooper Collection at the Hunt Institute; includes essays by Hooper, Rodney Engen, and John Brindle), edited by Robert Kiger, compiled by Bernadette Callery and others, Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation (Pittsburgh, PA), 1980.
Illustrator and author Kate Greenaway is one of the few names truly synonymous with children's literature. Along with Walter Crane and Randolph Caldecott, Greenaway was part of England's triumvirate of children's illustrators during the late nineteenth century. Greenaway's particular distinction was for creating rhyming verse alongside warm, cheerful pictures of idealized children. For many, her works represent the essence of childhood and Victorian England. In addition to books, Greenaway also designed children's clothing; her style—dubbed "Greenawisme" by one French commentator—became extremely popular in Europe and America in her day. After Greenaway died in 1901, her work continued to influence many twentieth-century children and artists from around the world. In recognition of her impact on children's literature, in 1955 the Library Association of Great Britain began granting the Kate Greenaway Medal, an annual award considered the highest honor an English illustrator can receive.
Born in 1846 in London, England, Greenaway enjoyed a pleasant childhood. Some of her earliest memories came from the period between 1847 and 1850 when she lived on a farm with her great aunt in Rolleston, England. There she acquired her love of the English countryside, which she often depicted in her works in later life. Her father, John, was a prominent wood engraver whose strong work ethic—he often worked through the night—influenced Kate and her adult work habits. When her father's publisher went broke in 1850, Greenaway moved with her family to Islington, England, where her mother opened a shop and sold dresses, lace, and other fineries. Many have traced Greenaway's talent for designing and making children's clothing to her years here. Whether in the country or her mother's shop, Greenaway found amusement in everyday living. "I had such a very happy time when I was a child, and, curiously, was so very much happier then than my brother and sister, with exactly the same surroundings," she is quoted as saying in Kate Greenaway, by Marion Harry Spielmann and George Somes Layard. "I suppose my imaginary life made me one long continuous joy—filled everything with a strange wonder and beauty. Living in that childish wonder is a most beautiful feeling—I can so well remember it." Critics have cited Greenaway's ability to recapture in her art her "childish wonder" as one of the main reasons her work has endured over the years.
Greenaway's earliest drawings date back to the Indian uprising against Britain in 1857, when Britain fought off a mutiny and established its power in India. Creating pictures of people escaping the turmoil of battle sparked her interest in art, and the following year she began art classes. After winning her first award while in school, Greenaway decided to make art her career. Ten years later, in 1868, she had her first public exhibition of her work. By 1869 Greenaway was designing greeting cards and illustrating children's books. A few years later she decided to work on a book of her own. "Greenaway's ambition," Anne H. Lundin wrote in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, "was to publish a book of her own verses and drawings based on her memories of Rolleston, street rhymes, and favorite childhood stories. She dressed her characters in the oldfashioned clothing so common in Rolleston: high-waisted gowns, smocks, and mobcaps. She accompanied these drawings with her own verse, based on nursery-rhyme morals and make-believe."
In 1878 Greenaway's first self-illustrated book, Under the Window: Pictures and Rhymes for Children, was published. The volume contains a variety of drawings featuring cherubs at play. One scene, for example, shows boys and girls filing out of a country schoolhouse. The verse reads: "School is over, / Oh, what fun! / Lessons finished, / Play begun. / Who'll run fastest, / You or I? / Who'll laugh loudest? / Let us try." The book was an immediate success, selling out of its first twenty-thousand copies quickly. "The first edition of twenty thousand, which [Greenaway's publisher] Routledge had considered to be excessive, quickly sold out; the second edition and foreign editions totaled nearly seventy thousand copies," according to Anne H. Lundin in the Dictionary of Literary Biography. By the early 1880s Greenaway's popularity spread beyond Great Britain to other countries, including the United States. Copies of her illustrations began appearing on plates, clothing, and vases—often without her permission. So fashionable was her work that one shoe salesman even wanted Greenaway to sponsor a Kate Greenaway shoe!
Encouraged by her success, Greenaway went on to produce other self-illustrated works for children, including Language of Flowers, Kate Greenaway's Alphabet, Kate Greenaway's Book of Games, and A Apple Pie: An Old-Fashioned Alphabet Book. Greenaway's commercial prosperity peaked during the 1880s, and in 1885 she moved into a home specially built for her in Frognal, a suburb of London. Sharing the house with her mother, father, and brother, Greenaway worked there on her children's books, children's clothing, and paintings until her death in 1901.
Critical reaction to Greenaway's work has been generally positive. In fact, Richard Cavendish, writing for History Today commented that "Kate Greenaway's illustrations had extraordinary charm. They showed saucy or demure curly-haired children in old-fashioned clothes—pretty girls in frocks, smocks and bonnets, boys in hats and short jackets—living in an innocent world where no serious harm would ever come to them." The most famous critic of her time was noted Victorian essayist John Ruskin, who frequently urged her to abandon children's books and concentrate on art. As Ruskin stated in The Art of England, he most enjoyed the realistic quality of her scenes: "[T]he beauty of them is in being like. They are blissful, just in the degree that they are natural; and the fairy land she creates for you is not beyond the sky nor beneath the sea, but nigh you, even at your doors. She does but show you how to see it, and how to cherish it." Ruskin and Greenaway shared an affection of sorts, one developed through the many letters they exchanged during the late nineteenth century. "From the first amazing letter Ruskin sent . . . she was apparently lost to his devouring influence, and in unabating need of the love whose promise he repeatedly extended and snatched back for the twenty years these two were to 'know' each other," Vivian Gornick reported in the Village Voice. Despite Ruskin's considerable influence, Greenaway continued producing children's books because they provided a reliable source of income. Still, she did try to please Ruskin by working in oils and having her works exhibited, most notably in a well-received London exhibition in 1891. But Greenaway never established herself as the technically proficient artist Ruskin envisioned, and since her death she is usually remembered for her children's books rather than her paintings.
Some critics, while admiring Greenaway for capturing the spirit of childhood in her books, observed that her illustrations reflect only the bright, cheerful side of life. "In Kate Greenaway's garden the sun is always shining," Ruth Hill Viguers wrote in her introduction to The Kate Greenaway Treasury. "We look at her pictures much as we look at a blossoming garden, seeing only the light on the flowers, forgetting the rain or the toil that went into the creation of that beauty." Greenaway was aware of her artistic focus on the good and defended it. "Goodness is so beautiful and so much the best," Greenaway said, as quoted in Spielmann and Layard's Kate Greenaway. "I hate narrow people who would take all the beauty and gaiety from the world. . . . People laugh at me, I am so delighted and pleased with things, and say I see with rose-coloured spectacles. What do you think—is it not a beautiful world? Sometimes have I got a defective art faculty that few things are ugly to me?"
If you enjoy the works of Kate Greenaway
If you enjoy the works of Kate Greenaway, you might want to check out the following books:
Hans Christian Andersen, The Complete Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales, 1981.
John Ruskin, The Art of England, 1884.
A.N. Wilson, The Victorians, 2003.
Greenaway's sunny disposition darkened somewhat during the last decade of her life when she faced a series of difficulties: the deaths of her parents and of Ruskin; and the decline of her popularity as a children's author. "The longer I live the less I understand the scheme of life that comprises so much sadness in it," reflected Greenaway in 1894, as quoted in Kate Greenaway. Though she wasn't confident toward the end of her life that her art would stand the test of time, it has. Greenaway's books, which have remained in print during the twentieth century, stand as a lasting testimony to her ability to capture her "childish wonder" for future generations. "Greenaway's books," wrote Anne H. Lundin in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, "represent the apotheosis of artistic picture books, with attention to the artistry of the book from cover to cover, especially in the key element of color. Her stature was recognized at the time and continues to be acknowledged in the modern age—virtually every historical survey of children's literature mentions her work in the development of the picture book. Greenaway titles continue to be published ..., and her stylized images are commercially produced on posters, stationery, coloring books, paper dolls, and needlework patterns. In some ways the Greenaway style is still as much an article of folk culture as it was in her time." As Viguers put it: "She is unique in that the most beautiful impressions of her childhood not only became part of the woman but remained in her memory so clearly as to be essential in the expression of the artist. This expression, endowing childhood and the actions, moods, and games of childhood with the beauty she felt, is a rightful inheritance of each new generation."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Almanac of Famous People, 6th edition, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1998.
Caplan, H. H., Classified Directory of Artists' Signatures, Symbols, & Monograms, 2nd edition, George Prior Publishers (London, England), 1982.
Carpenter, Humphrey, and Mari Prichard, Oxford Companion to Children's Literature, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1984.
Childhood in Poetry, 3rd Supplement, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1980.
Children's Literature Review, Volume 6, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1984.
Chilvers, Ian, and Harold Osborne, editors, Oxford Dictionary of Art, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1988.
Crystal, David, editor, Cambridge Biographical Encyclopedia, 2nd edition, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1998.
Davis, Dorothy R., editor and compiler, Carolyn Sherwin Bailey Historical Collection of Children's Books, Southern Connecticut State College (New Haven, CT), 1966.
Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 141: British Children's Writers, 1880-1914, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1994.
Drabble, Margaret, editor, Oxford Companion to English Literature, revised 5th edition, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1995.
Dunford, Penny, A Biographical Dictionary of Women Artists in Europe and America since 1850, University of Pennsylvania Press (Philadelphia, PA), 1989.
Encyclopedia of World Biography Supplement, Volume 18, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1998.
Engen, Rodney, Kate Greenaway: a Biography, Jane's Information Group, 1981.
Ernest, Edward, and Patricia Tracy Lowe, editors, The Kate Greenaway Treasury: An Anthology of the Illustrations and Writings of Kate Greenaway, World Publishing, 1967.
Greenaway, Kate, Under the Window: Pictures and Rhymes for Children, Routledge (London, England), 1878.
Lee, Sir Sidney, editor, Dictionary of National Biography, 2nd Supplement, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1912.
Mallalieu, H.L., Dictionary of British Watercolour Artists up to 1920, Antique Collectors' Club (Woodbridge, England), 1976.
Meigs, Cornelia Lynde, and others, editors, A Critical History of Children's Literature, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1953.
Osborne, Harold, editor, Oxford Companion to Art, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1970.
Ousby, Ian, editor, Cambridge Guide to Literature in English, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1988.
Ruskin, John, The Art of England, George Allen (London, England), 1883.
Spielmann, Marion Harry, and George Somes Layard, Kate Greenaway, A. & C. Black, 1905.
Sutherland, John, Stanford Companion to Victorian Fiction, Stanford University Press (Stanford, CA), 1989.
Thomson, Susan Ruth, Kate Greenaway: A Catalogue of the Kate Greenaway Collection, Rare Book Room, Detroit Public Library, Wayne State University Press (Detroit, MI), 1977.
Wood, Christopher, Dictionary of Victorian Painters, 2nd edition, Antique Collectors' Club (Woodbridge, England), 1978.
Yesterday's Authors of Books for Children, Volume 2, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1978.
History Today, November, 2001, Richard Cavendish, "Death of Kate Greenaway: November 6, 1901. (Months Past)," p. 52.
Horn Book, March, 1946, Anne Parrish, "Flowers for a Birthday: Kate Greenaway."
Village Voice, January 20-26, 1982, Vivian Gornick, "Whose Life Was It Anyway? Kate Greenaway Left Untouched," p. 39.*
The English illustrator Kate Greenaway (1846-1901) dramatically changed the art of the picture book. For many modern critics, her work represents the essence of a Victorian childhood.
For over a hundred years, Kate Greenaway's works have been honored as representing the essence of illustrations for children. Her relatively simple line drawings and colored pictures of young boys and girls at play influenced generations of writers and illustrators for children. Her seminal role in creating the form of the modern child's picture book was recognized in 1955, when the Library Association of Great Britain established the Kate Greenaway Medal. The award is given annually to the British artist who has produced the most distinguished illustrations in works of literature for children.
Kate Greenaway's romantic conception of childhood was based in part on her own experiences. She was born on March 17, 1846, in Hoxton, a community in what is now Greater London, England. "She was the second daughter of John Greenaway, a draughtsman and engraver, " writes Bryan Holme in The Kate Greenaway Book, "and of Elizabeth Greenaway, a Miss Jones before the marriage." "I had such a very happy time when I was a child, " Greenaway is reported as saying in M. H. Spielmann and G. S. Lanyard's 1905 biography Kate Greenaway, "and, curiously, was so very much happier then than my brother and sister, with exactly the same surroundings. I suppose my imaginary life made me one long continuous joy-filled everything with a strange wonder and beauty. Living in that childish wonder is a most beautiful feeling-I can so well remember it. There was always something more-behind and beyond everything-to me. The golden spectacles were very very big."
Her earliest artistic desires found their expression in drawing and in dressing up her dolls. "A strong bond existed between father and daughter, " Holme reports. "He had nicknamed her 'Knocker' because when she cried her face used to look like one-or so he had teasingly told her. As soon as Kate's fingers had strength enough to hold pencil, John Greenaway had encouraged her to draw-and this he continued to do up to and through her student years." Some of these pictures were of contemporary events, including the Great Indian War in 1857, in which many English women and children were killed. "At the time of the Indian Mutiny I was always drawing people escaping, " Greenaway revealed in Kate Greenaway. "I could sit and think of the sepoys till I could be wild with terror, and I used sometimes to dream of them. But I was always drawing the ladies, nurses, and children escaping. Mine always escaped and were never taken." Other inspirations for her art work were the family vacations taken in rural Rolleston, Nottinghamshire. "Here Greenaway was touched by the commonplace sights of old-fashioned England, " states Lundin: "villagers in their antiquated eighteenth-century dress; men working in the fields in embroidered smocks dyed blue; women wearing their Sunday best of frilly lace and large poke bonnets; and roads edged with primroses or fields filled with poppies."
A Career as an Illustrator and Designer
Greenaway's doll-dressing talents may have had their origins in Elizabeth Greenaway's occupation. "Her mother was a seamstress and milliner, who opened a shop in Islington when her husband's business waned, " explains Anne H. Lundin in the Dictionary of Literary Biography. "Certainly Kate Greenaway's taste for 'dressing up' found its major expression at the drawing, [but] … in her childhood it had through her love of dolls, " states Holme. Even after she had been sent to school at what would become the Royal Academy of Art in 1858, and after she had won local and national awards for her work in 1861 and 1864, she continued to work with dolls and fabric. In 1868, at the age of 22, she had an exhibition of her watercolors at the Dudley Gallery in Piccadilly. She created these pictures by first making the clothing, then dressing model in the clothes. The significance of the pictures in terms of her career, however, was that they "caught the eye of an editor and led to a commission for illustrations for People's magazine and later for Christmas cards and valentines for Marcus Ward, " declares Lundin. "In 1870 she received a commission to illustrate an edition of Madame D'Aulney's Fairy Tales. She also began contributing to Little Folks, the Illustrated London News, and Cassell's magazine, and she exhibited for the first time at the Royal Academy in 1877."
Greenaway's largest influence on her art work at this time came from the artists of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, which was formed in 1848 by William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. "This trio of artists, " writes Holme, "protested the ravages of modern industry, but their plea for a return to simplicity, sincerity, and respect for nature had no bearing beyond the immediate world of British art. Yet in that world, within a decade, they became gods." Many of her early cards and valentines, such as those that appeared in The Quiver of Love: A Collection of Valentines (1876) show the Pre-Raphaelite influence on her work. John Ruskin, the first British art critic to recognize the contributions of the Pre-Raphaelites, later became a close friend of Greenaway. Their correspondence continued until the critic's death in 1900.
Much of Greenaway's earliest work appeared in the publications of Marcus Ward & Company, which published her art work on their cards, calendars, and books. "Over the years, " writes Holme, "hitherto unknown books containing one or more Greenaway illustrations have turned up in the rare-book market." Her "earliest free-lance work also included odd jobs for Messrs. Kronheim and Company, the giant color printers of Shoe Lane, " the critic continues. The Kronheim connection led to the publication of her first illustrated book: Diamonds and Toads (1871). "This slim paper-bound volume, a popular little tale pointing to the moral that 'cross words are as bad dropped from the mouth as toads and vipers, while gentle words are better than roses and diamonds' was printed by Kronheim, " Holme concludes, "and destined to number in Aunt Louisa's London Toy Book Series under the imprint of Frederick Warne and Company." Other books featuring Greenaway illustrations published in the early 1870s included The Children of the Parsonage, Fairy Gifts; or, A Wallet of Wonders, and Topo.
Under the Window and Other Works
The artist's aspirations, however, went beyond simply illustrating books written by other people. "Greenaway's ambition was to publish a book of her own verses and drawings based on her memories of Rolleston, street rhymes, and favorite childhood stories, " explains Lundin. "She dressed her characters in the old-fashioned clothing so common in Rolleston: high-waisted gowns, smocks, and mobcaps. She accompanied these drawings with her own verse, based on nursery-rhyme morals and make-believe." Her father, John Greenaway, shared the unfinished manuscript with a colleague named Edmund Evans. Evans was "a pioneer color printer who had already created successful productions of Walter Crane's toy books and had recently engaged Randolph Caldecott for a similar series, " states Lundin. The volume that Evans published became the first and most popular of Greenaway's books, Under the Window: Pictures and Rhymes for Children. Evans's original printing of 20, 000 copies quickly sold out and Evans had to print another 50, 000 to satisfy the demand for the book. One-third of the profits went to Greenaway. The sales made her comfortably well-off, if not wealthy, and her name became familiar in households throughout the British Empire and the United States. "Throughout the 1890s Under the Window was listed as a perennial seller, " says Lundin, "along with Greenaway's three other most popular works: Kate Greenaway's Birthday Book for Children (1880), Mother Goose; or, The Old Nursery Rhymes (1881), and A Painting Book (1884)."
These four books marked the pinnacle of Greenaway's critical and commercial success. However, her reputation was further spread by a series of yearly almanacs, published first by Routledge and later by Dent. "The almanacs were booklets with variant bindings that contained monthly calendars and in which the surprise from year to year was in Greenaway's choice of decorations for the seasons, " writes Lundin. Their sales were more erratic than those of Greenaway's major books-except in the United States, Lundin says, where "the almanacs had a greater following … with sales often twice that of the British market." The Almanack for 1883, the best-selling of her collection, sold 90, 000 copies throughout Great Britain, the United States, France, and Germany. The almanacs appeared yearly from 1882 to 1895; the publisher skipped 1896, and the last of Greenaway's almanacs was published in 1897.
These almanacs and Greenaway's other publications brought out a "Greenaway Vogue" that began shortly after the publication of Under the Window and continued for some time. "Numerous imitations, piracies, and spinoffs were produced without her permission, an onslaught that popularized her name by adversely affected her livelihood and stature, " says Lundin. Even clothing styled after the patterns she had developed in her illustrations was created. At one point Greenaway was approached by a shoe manufacturer who wanted to market a "Kate Greenaway shoe." Greenaway herself told another anecdote about an acquaintance who had been exposed to the vogue: "The lady who has just left me, has been staying in the country and has been to see her cousins. I asked if they were growing up as pretty as they promised. 'Yes, ' she replied, 'but they spoil their good looks, you know, by dressing in that absurd Kate Greenaway style'-quite forgetting that she was talking to me!"
Although Greenaway maintained her reputation throughout the late nineteenth century, by the dawn of the twentieth century her popularity began to wane. Despite the loss of her parents and her friend John Ruskin, she never lost the dedication that characterized her earliest work. However, by early 1901 Greenaway was complaining of chronic pain, which was diagnosed as "acute muscular rheumatism, " but which modern critics believe was actually breast cancer. She died on November 6, 1901, and was buried in her family's plot at Hampstead cemetery. "Her work, " concludes Lundin, "remains a part of folk culture as well as a landmark in the history of children's bookmaking."
Arbuthnot, May Hill, and Zena Sutherland, Children and Books, 4th edition, Scott, Foresman, 1972.
Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 141: British Children's Writers, 1880-1914, Gale Research, 1994.
Ernest, Edward, and Patricia Tracy Lowe, editors, The Kate Greenaway Treasury: An Anthology of the Illustrations and Writings of Kate Greenaway, World Publishing, 1967.
Holme, Bryan, The Kate Greenaway Book, Viking Press, 1976.
Meigs, Cornelia Lynde, et. al., editors, A Critical History of Children's Literature, Macmillan, 1953.
Moore, Anne Carroll, A Century of Kate Greenaway, Warne, 1946.
Spielmann, Marion Harry, and George Somes Layard, Kate Greenaway, A. & C. Black, 1905.
Yesterday's Authors of Books for Children, Gale Research, 1976. M
Greenaway, Kate (1846–1901)
Greenaway, Kate (1846–1901)
Catherine (Kate) Greenaway was an English artist and children's book illustrator. She is best known for her distinctive images of children in simple clothes set in pastoral and garden landscapes. She was born in London, the second daughter of the engraver John Greenaway and Elizabeth Greenaway. When she was five her family moved to Islington, where her mother opened a successful shop selling children's clothing and trimmings. During the summers, Greenaway and her siblings lived with relatives in the country village of Rolleston in Nottinghamshire. A keen observer, she would draw on remembered details from her childhood in her art.
Greenaway began her artistic training at twelve, when she enrolled in the Finsbury School of Art, which trained its students for careers in commercial art. At nineteen, she began further design training at the Female School of Art in South Kensington and some years later she took life classes at the Slade School. In the late 1860s she began receiving commissions for magazine and book illustrations and designing greeting cards.
Greenaway's career reached a turning point in 1877 when her father introduced her to the printer Edmund Evans, who produced high-quality color wood engravings. Evans was already successfully engraving and printing books by Walter Crane and Randolph Caldecott, two well-known children's book illustrators, and he printed Greenaway's first book, Under the Window, with the publisher George Routledge in 1879. The book combined Greenaway's illustrations of children with her own simple verse. It was a huge success and sold out almost immediately. Her subsequent books in the same vein continued to be successful, and several publishers produced books imitative of her style.
During these prolific years, Greenaway began to correspond with the art critic John Ruskin, who admired her images of children. She finally met him in the early 1880s. Ruskin, twenty-eight years Greenaway's senior and already experiencing bouts of mental illness, would have a lasting influence on the rest of Greenaway's life. She fell in love with him, although she was only one among several women with whom he had a flirtatious relationship. The two conducted a lengthy, complicated correspondence, and they visited each other sporadically. He offered artistic advice and encouraged
her to pursue nature studies and watercolor painting. Although he championed her work in a lecture and essay entitled "In Fairy Land," Greenaway's career suffered when she diverted her attention away from illustration. By the mid-1880s, Greenaway's books began to diminish in popularity. Focusing more on exhibiting and selling watercolor painting in the last decade of her life, she struggled to support herself. Countless products appeared with her designs (or were modelled after them), but most were produced without her permission. Greenaway died of breast cancer in 1901.
Greenaway's art nostalgically linked a pastoral landscape and the simplicity of eighteenth- and early nineteenth- century styles of clothing with an ideal of childhood sheltered from adult experience. At the same time, her work's simple, clean lines, decorative details, and her choice of colors corresponded to the progressive tastes of the Aesthetic movement of the later nineteenth century. This visual formula easily transferred to other media. Greenaway's style was successful in an expanding market for images of children that continued well into the twentieth century. Her images of children appeared on greeting cards, advertisements, porcelain figures, tiles, wallpaper, and fabrics, while the distinctive style of dress she pictured in her work influenced children's fashions in England and elsewhere. The well-known store Liberty of London, for example, carried its "Greenaway dress" into the early twentieth century. Although she herself did not benefit financially beyond the sales of her books and illustrations, Greenaway was one of the first women artists to achieve success in the growing childhood-related markets of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
See also: Children's Literature; Images of Childhood; Victorian Art.
Chester, Tessa Rose, and Joyce Irene Whalley. 1988. A History of Children's Book Illustration. London: John Murray/Victoria and Albert Museum.
Engen, Rodney. 1981. Kate Greenaway: A Biography. London: Macdonald Future Publishers.
Lundin, Anne H. 2001. Victorian Horizons: The Reception of the Picture Books of Walter Crane, Randolph Caldecott, and Kate Greenaway. Lanham, MD: Children's Literature Association/Scarecrow Press.
Schuster, Thomas E., and Rodney Engen. 1986. Printed Kate Greenaway: A Catalogue Raisonné. London: T. E. Schuster.
Spielman, M. H., and G. S. Layard. 1905. The Life and Work of Kate Greenaway. London: Adam Charles Black. Reprint, 1986, London: Bracken.
Taylor, Ina. 1991. The Art of Kate Greenaway: A Nostalgic Portrait of Childhood. Gretna, LA: Pelican.
Greenaway, Kate (1846–1901)
Greenaway, Kate (1846–1901)
English illustrator of children's books. Born Mar 17, 1846, in Hoxton, London, England; died Nov 6, 1901, in Frognal, Hampstead, London, of breast cancer; dau. of John Greenaway (engraver and woodcut maker) and Elizabeth (Jones) Greenaway; studied at the Finsbury School of Art, the National Art Training School, Heatherley's School of Art, and Slade School of Art; never married; no children.
Illustrator whose particular style proved widely influential, making her a household name at home and abroad and spawning a host of imitators; published 1st book illustration, Infant Amusements, or How to Make a Nursery Happy (1867); began working for the greeting-card industry, where her shrewd instinct for popular taste led to the development of a successful style which depicted a romantic vision of children in historical dress, set against a plain background with an ornate border; achieved success when 1st edition of Under the Window sold out within a few weeks (1879); published Kate Greenaway's Birthday Book (1880), which reassured her position as a leading illustrator when sales reflected its critical and popular acclaim; with the exception of one year, produced the Kate Greenaway Almanack (1883–97); was one of the primary influences on children's illustration and children's publishing in general.
See also Rodney Engen, Kate Greenaway: A Biography (MacDonald Futura, 1981); M.H. Spielmann and G.S. Layard, Kate Greenaway (Adam & Charles Black, 1905); and Women in World History.