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Kate Greenaway RI (1846-1901)

Kate Greenaway, RI (1846-1901)

The characteristic charm of Kate Greenaway’s illustrations resides in a simplicity of both vision and visual style. A past time – the Regency – is represented through clear outline and flat wash as the embodiment of innocence; an eternal English spring is peopled, for the most part, by graceful youths engaged in gentle occupation.

Kate Greenaway was born in Hoxton, East London, on 17 March 1846. The urban background of her childhood gave her a longing for the countryside, a longing made more definite and painful by happy memories of family holidays in Nottinghamshire. She would transform these desires into the enchanted yet homely visual world that made her name.

The favourite daughter of a wood-engraver to The Illustrated London News, Greenaway studied at the Finsbury School of Art, the National Art Training School, South Kensington, and, in 1870-71, at the Heatherley School of Fine Art. In 1871, she enrolled at the Slade School of Art, and spent time in the life class of the director, Edward Poynter, there meeting Helen Allingham, who later became a close friend.

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