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Two Modern Book Illustrators
by [?]


2: Since this paper was written, the Original Poems and Others, of Ann and Jane Taylor, with illustrations by F.D. Bedford, and a most interesting “Introduction” by Mr. E.V. Lucas, have been issued by Messrs. Wells, Gardner, Darton and Co.]

In Marigold Garden, 1885, Miss Greenaway became her own poet; and next to Mother Goose, this is probably her most important effort. The flowers are as entrancing as ever; and the verse makes one wish that the writer had written more. The “Genteel Family” and “Little Phillis” are excellent nursery pieces; and there is almost a Blake-like note about “The Sun Door.”

They saw it rise in the morning,
They saw it set at night,
And they longed to go and see it,
Ah! if they only might.

The little soft white clouds heard them,
And stepped from out of the blue;
And each laid a little child softly
Upon its bosom of dew.

And they carried them higher and higher,
And they nothing knew any more,
Until they were standing waiting,
In front of the round gold door.

And they knocked, and called, and entreated
Whoever should be within;
But all to no purpose, for no one
Would hearken to let them in.

La rime n’est pas riche ” nor is the technique thoroughly assured; but the thought is poetical. Here is another, “In an Apple-Tree,” which reads like a child variation of that haunting “Mimnermus in Church” of the author of Ionica:–

In September, when the apples are red,
To Belinda I said,
“Would you like to go away
To Heaven, or stay
Here in this orchard full of trees
All your life? “And she said,” If you please
I’ll stay here–where I know,
And the flowers grow.”

In another vein is the bright little “Child’s Song”:–

The King and the Queen were riding
Upon a Summer’s day,
And a Blackbird flew above them,
To hear what they did say.

The King said he liked apples,
The Queen said she liked pears;
And what shall we do to the Blackbird
Who listens unawares?

But, as a rule, it must be admitted of her poetry that, while nearly always poetic in its impulse, it is often halting and inarticulate in its expression. A few words may be added in regard to the mere facts of Miss Greenaway’s career. She was born at 1 Cavendish Street, Hoxton, on the 17th March, 1846, her father being Mr. John Greenaway, a draughtsman on wood, who contributed much to the earlier issues of the Illustrated London News and Punch. Annual visits to a farm-house at Rolleston in Nottinghamshire–the country residence already referred to–nourished and confirmed her love of nature. Very early she showed a distinct bias towards colour and design of an original kind. She studied at different places, and at South Kensington. Here both she and Lady Butler “would bribe the porter to lock them in when the day’s work was done, so that they might labour on for some while more.” Her master at Kensington was Richard Burchett, who, forty years ago, was a prominent figure in the art-schools, a well instructed painter, and a teacher exceptionally equipped with all the learning of his craft. Mr. Burchett thought highly of Miss Greenaway’s abilities; and she worked under him for several years with exemplary perseverance and industry. She subsequently studied in the Slade School under Professor Legros.

Her first essays in the way of design took the form of Christmas cards, then beginning their now somewhat flagging career, and she exhibited pictures at the Dudley Gallery for some years in succession, beginning with 1868. In 1877 she contributed to the Royal Academy a water colour entitled “Musing,” and in 1889 was elected a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours.