WALTER CRANE RWS (1845-1915)
AESTHETIC MOVEMENT (c.1867-c.1900)
Here's Venus' Combe for Maidenhair (England, 1899)
Pencil and watercolour heightened with white
Signed with monogram and inscribed with the title, painted 1899
(7.48 inches high)
(5.51 inches wide)
Walter Crane, Floral Fantasy Set in Verses, 1899, reproduced. (One of Crane's more influential books.)
London, The Mall Galleries, The Heatherley School of Fine Art 150th Anniversary Exhibition, 27 February -9 March 1996, number 26
Daoulas Abbey, Brittany, France, Fées, Elfes, Dragons et autres créatures des royaumes de féerie, December 2002 - March 2003
Description / Expertise
Walter Crane was a prolific and innovative illustrator of children's books, inspiring many future generations of book illustrators. He was also a painter, decorative designer and theorist on art and on society and was a central figure in the Aesthetic and the Arts and Crafts movements.
In 1859, he was apprenticed to the wood engraver W. J. Linton as a draughtsman, and from 1863 began designing the Toy Books for Routledge which would did much to improve the standard of Victorian children's book design. Japanese prints were a formative influence on Walter Crane's bold book illustrations. Walter Crane also began to work as a watercolour painter of poetic and romantic subjects. With two exceptions his work was consistently rejected by the Royal Academy so he joined a coterie of like-minded artists exhibiting at the Dudley Gallery. They were united in their admiration for Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones and the critics dubbed them the `poetry-without-grammar-school'. In the 1870's Crane began to paint in tempera and in oil and exhibited regularly at the Grosvenor Gallery and later at the New Gallery. The Renaissance of Venus, shown at the first exhibition of the Grosvenor Gallery in 1877, was bought by the painter G. F. Watts and is now in the Tate Gallery. This work, like most of Crane's mature paintings, reveals his admiration for fifteenth century Italian art. George Howard, Ninth Earl of Carlisle, was also a friend and patron. Crane's Italian landscape paintings link him with the Etruscan school. His first and most important visit to Italy was an extended honeymoon journey between 1871 and 1873.
In his later years, theoretical writing became an important part of his output. He joined the Socialist League in 1883 and made many designs for the working class movement. He was also the first president of the Art Worker's Guild in 1884, and president of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society between 1888 and 1890. This involvement in the Art and Crafts movement led to a number of works on the history of theory of design such as Ideals in Art (1905), The Bases of Design (1898) and Line and Form (1900). His Reminiscences appeared in 1907 and an exhibition covering all aspects of his career was held at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester in 1989.