Kate Greenaway (1846-1901) was one of the most popular British book illustrators of the Victorian era. A contemporary of Randolph Caldecott and Walter Crane, she attracted a wide audience in the United States and England, and many of her books were even translated into German and French.
One of Greenaway's early successes was Mother Goose, or the Old Nursery Rhymes, first published in 1881, featuring such favorite poems as "Little Jack Horner," "Little Bo Peep," and "Jack and Jill" paired with whimsical illustrations of children playing in an idyllic countryside. Her enchanting watercolors evoked the urban Victorian reader's nostalgia for the rural life of earlier times and echoed Greenaway's own longing to retreat to a more tranquil setting than her native London.
This new edition of Kate Greenaway's Mother Goose reproduces illustrations from the rare 1881 edition in the Huntington Library's collections. The Huntington owns an extensive collection of books illustrated by Greenaway, several of her manuscripts, and nearly one hundred of her original drawings.
James Thorpe served as director of the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens from 1966 to 1983. A professor of English at Princeton for many years, he published studies of literary subjects ranging from the medieval to the modern.
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