The E-BNR aims to build a comprehensive & unique cross-artform guide to
the British neo-Romantic tradition,
from 1880 to the present day.
While the British Romantics of 1789-1824 have spawned a vast industry of
publishers, conferences & tourism, the later neo-Romantic traditions
remain largely neglected. The E-BNR is aimed at bringing this hidden
tradition to light.
PayPal donations are very welcome! Click the
button below to make a small donation to ongoing site costs. Thanks!
WHAT IS NEO-ROMANTICISM ?
Neo-Romantic artists have drawn their inspiration
from artists of the age of Romanticism or earlier.
Characteristic themes in their work include a
mystical approach to the British landscape...
ENTRY: Crane, Walter
Walter Crane (b. August 15, 1845 - d. March 14, 1915) was an
English artist and poet. Born in Liverpool, he was part of the Arts and Crafts movement.
He produced paintings, illustrations, children's books, ceramic tiles and other decorative arts.
Walter Crane was the second son of Thomas Crane, portrait painter and miniaturist.
He early came under the influence of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and was
a diligent student of John Ruskin.
As a wood-engraver he had abundant opportunity for
the minute study of the contemporary artists whose work passed through his
hands, of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais, Sir John Tenniel
and Frederick Sandys, and of the masters of the Italian Renaissance,
but he was particularly influenced by the Elgin marbles in the British Museum.
A set of coloured page
designs to illustrate Tennyson's poem "Lady of Shalott" gained the approval of
wood-engraver William James Linton to whom Walter Crane was apprenticed for
three years (1859-1862). In his "Lady of Shalott" the artist
had shown his preoccupation with unity of design in book illustration by
printing in the words of the poem himself, in the view that this union
of the calligrapher's and the decorator's art was one secret of the beauty of the old illuminated books.
In 1862 his picture for "The Lady of Shalott" was exhibited at the Royal Academy,
but the Academy steadily refused his maturer work; and after the
opening of the Grosvenor Gallery in 1877 he ceased to send pictures to Burlington House.
A further and important element in the development of his talent was the study of Japanese
colour-prints, then becoming popular and available in reproduction.
He imitated the methods of these prints in a series of toy-books, which started a new fashion.
In 1864 he began to illustrate a series of sixpenny toy-books of nursery rhymes
in three colours for Edmund Evans. He was allowed more freedom in a series
beginning with The Frog Prince (1874) which showed markedly the influence of
Japanese art, and of long visit to Italy following his marriage in 1871.
He produced a number of other books for children, and his
Household Stories from Grimm (1882) was reproduced in tapestry by William Morris.
In 1894 he collaborated with William Morris in the page decoration of The Story of the Glittering Plain,
published at the Kelmscott Press, which was executed in the style of 16th century woodcuts.
Crane also illustrated editions of Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queene (12 pts., 1894-1896) and
The Shepheard's Calendar.
Crane wrote and illustrated three books of poetry, Queen Summer (1891), Renascence (1891),
and The Sirens Three (1886).
He devoted much time and energy to the work of the Art Workers Guild, and to the Arts and Crafts
Exhibition Society, founded by him in 1888.
His own easel pictures, chiefly allegorical in subject, among them
"The Bridge of Life" (1884) and "The Mower" (1891), were exhibited
regularly at the Grosvenor Gallery and later at the New Gallery.
"Neptune's Horses," was exhibited at the New Gallery in 1893,
and with it may be classed his "Rainbow and the Wave."
Crane was also a teacher at the Manchester Municipal school (1894);
art director of Reading College (1896); and in 1898 for a short time principal
of the Royal College of Art.
The Decorative Illustration of Books, Old and New (2nd ed., London and New York, 1900)
was his contribution to theory.