Meet the illustrator who brought children’s books to life
Meet the illustrator who brought children’s books to life Do you recognize this character? It's Arthur Rackham's Cheshire Cat from his illustration's in Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland." (Arthur Rackham/Jim Barnes)
Meet the illustrator who brought children’s books to life
Lexile: 720L

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Starting in the late 19th century, there were advances in printing technology. These advances allowed images to be printed cheaply. They came in lively color. This made newspapers and book reader demand images. They wanted them to complement the words they were purchasing. Those two factors led to the rise of a so-called "Golden Age of Illustration." One of the leading figures of this age was an English artist. That artist was Arthur Rackham. He was born on September 19, 1867. He was born in the South London borough of Lewisham.

You might not know his name. But you'll know his illustrations. Rackham created many fantastical creatures and people. They decorated the pages of the children's books. The books were published in the early 20th century. Rachkam was unassuming in appearance and manner. He worked as a junior insurance clerk before starting part-time at the Lambeth School of Art. That's where he began to translate a youthful passion. That passion was for books. He turned his passion into vivid illustrations to accompany works of classic literature. 

Rackham had an expressive, detailed style of art. It made pieces like his iconic drawings of scenes in Grimm Brothers' Fairy Tales instantly recognizable. Maria Popova of Brain Pickings offers her thoughts on the other artists to tackle Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. She offers that none did more for the work than Rackham. His graphic designs for a 1907 printing influence the visual vocabulary of the story even today.

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