My mailbox is very happy today. I just received a rare Kate Greenaway print from 1884. Sent to me by my dear friends Ann and Terry Cobb, this will be framed and treasured! Engraved by my hero Edmund Evans and a beautiful example of the work of my favourite artist Kate Greenaway. Kate was an introvert through and through. She was heavily critiqued for her work, and although she listened to each critique carefully, she remained comitted to her own vision. She accepted that which she considered true and discarded the rest! She was determined to paint what made her happy and would not submit to the vision of anyone else. As I read through her biography this week I am amazed at her discipline. She was an early riser, and worked from just after her breakfast until her lunch time. Although she shared her home with her family, she was strict about being undisturbed in her studio unless the matter was extrememly urgent. She took a short lunch break and then worked for a few more hours in the afternoon. She allowed time each day for a walk outdoors and if she had a visit to attend to, she would take care of that at tea time. Evening hours were left to correspondence and reading or sewing the clothing that she would choose to illustrate. Her letters of correspondence were often illustrated. This example is from a birthday greeting she sent to John Ruskin.
She fought hard to retain her copyright to her work although she was shamelessly copied and marketed by her competitors in other countries. I adore her spirit and her work! This precious bookplate was created for one of the children who posed for her illustrations.
Along with my precious Kate print, I just received a tiny book from 1883. Muster Alphabete
is a beautiful representation of the Victorian forms that I love. Although they often border and surpass the realm of the excessive and can push the envelope of good taste, I admire their attention to detail and their love of ornamentation.
I am welcoming Spring today with this glimpse into the past.