This illustrious award is named after the children's book illustrator and author Kate Greenaway who was born on the 17th of March 1846. Greenaway, along with Walter Crane and Randolph Caledcott, is recognized as one of the most enduring figures in children's book illustration. During her lifetime and well beyond, Greenaway's work was reproduced on products ranging from greeting cards to wallpapers and tiles. Greenaway's wallpapers in MoDA's collection include the nursery paper below.We also have a design on paper produced by the Silver Studio for a nursery wallpaper which has obviously been influenced by Greenaway's style.
|'Sanitary' nursery wallpaper based on Kate Greenaway illustrations, designed by David Walker in around 1895, Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (SW797A)|
|Design for a nursery wallpaper based on the work of Kate Greenaway by the Silver Studio ca.1891. Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (SD8381A)|
The phenomenon of 'Greenaway children' in late nineteenth century fashion is perhaps the most striking example of the influence Greenaway exerted in the period . The particular style of dress in her illustrations (a homage of sorts to Regency-era fashions with smocks and skeleton suits) became a popular style for children, to the point where Liberty's released a clothing line inspired by Greenaway's illustrations. Old fashioned, quaint and dainty, idyllic and romantic, Greenaway's depiction of children's fashion was taken up by disciples of the Arts and Crafts Movement and to this day we associate Aesthetic fashions with her work.
I wonder if any other illustrators working today have a similar level of influence to that enjoyed by Greenaway in the late-nineteenth century? Her work launched itself from the pages of books and permeated the world of fashion and home interiors. Past Greenaway Medal winner Lauren Child perhaps comes close with her characters Charlie and Lola (search for the characters' names on Amazon, and there are as many products listed in the homeware department as in books). The 2013 Greenaway Medal recipient will be announced in June and who knows? Perhaps this years winner will become the Greenaway of our time.