View Trend New Design Home Star-3,View Trend New Home Star-3,View Trend New Home Star-3,Trend New Home Star-3

Walter Crane Nursery Wallpapers

Illustration: Walter Crane Illustration from Sleeping Beauty 1876

Walter Crane is well known for his widespread and still relatively popular illustration of children's literature. Working in tandem with this was the work he produced for children's themed wallpaper, or nursery wallpapers as they termed.

Crane's wallpaper design work for children in particular, came directly from his illustrative work for children's literature. He was often inspired, and sometimes even specifically asked, to submit work that was influenced by his illustrative work. Therefore, there are wallpapers produced by Crane that follow both the nursery rhyme and fairy tale themes of his book work.

Illustration: Walter Crane The House That Jack Built nursery wallpaper 1886

It was in 1874 that he was first approached by the popular and innovative wallpaper manufacturer and retailer Jeffrey & Co. The company specifically asked for design work that was close to Crane's illustrative design for literature and from that point on he produced intermittent children's wallpaper design work until the end of the 1880s.

Crane himself tended to separate the children's wallpaper themes from the rest of his design work for Jeffrey & Co. This was not necessarily because of the juvenile quality of the themes, but had much more to do with ideas he had concerning production. The nursery wallpapers were usually machine printed, whereas many of the adult themed wallpapers were hand-block printed. Whether this had anything to do with the perceived perception of the aesthetic requirements of children versus adults is unclear, but Jeffrey & Co obviously spent more time and effort on adult, rather than children's decoration. As far as the designer was concerned it was purely a matter of quality that separated the design work, not genre.

Illustration: Walter Crane Illustration from The Frog Prince 1874

Crane had a number of problems, as did many other designers and manufacturers of the period, with rogue wallpaper manufacturers who were reproducing his illustrative book work as fully designed nursery themed wallpapers. This was without his or the publishers permission. It tended to be a problem that was endemic to the ocean divide between Europe and North America, with each side trying to circumvent any rudimentary copyright laws that existed. The main creative loser was often the designer. Crane himself was usually more upset by the innappropriateness of some of the design work, along with the lack of creative input into the finished wallpaper design, than he was with copyright infringement.

Illustration: Walter Crane Miss Mouse at Home nursery wallpaper 1877

Only two of the illustrations shown in this article are actually nursery wallpapers designs. The others are actually illustrations from children's literature. it seemed more than appropriate to show both book and wallpaper illustration work in order to make it clear how closely allied the two really were.

Crane always had a strong affinity to wallpaper decoration and he candidly admitted in an interview in 1894 that if he had not first travelled down the road of book illustration he would have taken the decision to follow a wallpaper design route instead. Although he was well aware that there were technical differences between book illustration and wallpaper design, Crane was also aware that the two shared a similar language and vocabulary. Crane was by nature a born illustrator and graphic inspired artist and could value and appreciate the technical and creative aspects of both disciplines and to his merit, denigrated neither.

Illustration: Walter Crane Illustration from Puss in Boots 1873

Reference links:
The Art & Illustration of Walter Crane
Flora's Feast: A Fairy's Festival of Flowers
The Frog Prince and Other Stories (Illustrated Edition) (Dodo Press)
Walter Crane as a Book Illustrator
Best Loved Fairy Tales of Walter Crane
The Buckle My Shoe Picture Book (Illustrated Edition) (Dodo Press)
Mother Hubbard, Her Picture Book, Containing Mother Hubbard, The Three Bears, & The Absurd A, B, C. Household Stories by the Brothers Grimm
Beauty and the Beast: Beauty and the Beast A TALE FOR THE ENTERTAINMENT OF JUVENILE READERS
Line and Form (1900)
An Alphabet of Old Friends ; And, the Absurd ABC

No comments:

Post a Comment