Kate Greenaway

On this date in 1846, Kate Greenaway was born in Great Britain. Her father was an engraver for Punch and her mother a seamstress. Kate attended a school of art as a teenager, then the newly opened Slade School, where, as a female student, she was barred from life drawing classes involving nude models. She exhibited her first illustration in 1868. Her delicate watercolors of children wearing simple, timeless frocks, landscapes and flowers are classics that are still instantly recognizable today. Greenaway's oft-reprinted books include Illustrated Mother Goose (1881), the picture book Under the Window (1877), the Birthday Book, and The Language of Flowers (1884). Her watercolors were exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1877 onward. Kate corresponded for 20 years with art critic John Ruskin. She was skeptical of religious claims. Kate Greenaway died of breast cancer in 1901. The British Library Association inaugurated a Kate Greenaway Medal given to the best illustrator of children's books. D. 1901.

“[It is] strange beyond anything I can think to be able to believe in any of the known religions.”

—Kate Greenaway, letter, quoted by M.H. Spielmann and G.L. Layard in their biography, Kate Greenaway, 1905

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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