March 17th is widely celebrated as St. Patrick’s Day but it also happens to be the birthday of notable childrens’ book illustrator Kate Greenaway. Born in London in 1846, she studied art at various schools, such as the Heatherley School of Fine Art, and began her career in watercolors and cards. She was a contemporary or Walter Crane and Randolph Caldecott and good friend to Victorian art critic John Ruskin.
The Libraries has some wonderful examples of children’s books, many of which include poems for little ones. This particular late 19th-century item includes illustrations by with pictures by Helen Allingham, Kate Greenaway, Caroline Paterson, and Harry Furniss.
These wonderful children’s book illustrations make one yearn for snow. They were done by the artist Karl Mühlmeister, about whom very little seems to be known. He is believed to have been born in Hamburg in 1876, and died around 1942-45, location unknown. These simple print illustrations have a charm all their own.
Because of their size, miniature books present special challenges for shelving, preservation, and exhibition, but this fact only adds to their appeal as curiosities and collectibles.