Randolph Caldecott

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The 19th century English artist that has had a great an impact on children’s illustrations is Randolph Caldecott. Randolph Caldecott was a British artist and illustrator that was born in Chester on March 22, 1846 (1). The reason he is so important and well-known in this lifetime is because he is the reason that we have the Caldecott medal in children’s literature. Caldecott was said to have transformed the world of children's books in the Victorian era. Children eagerly awaited the two books illustrated by him, priced at a shilling each, which came out each Christmas for eight years (2). However, Caldecott was known for much more than this: he illustrated novels and accounts of foreign travel; he made humorous drawings depicting hunting and fashionable life; he drew cartoons and he made sketches of the famous inside Parliament and out of it; he also exhibited sculptures and paintings in oil and watercolor in the Royal Academy and galleries(2). Each year the Newbery Medal is awarded for the most distinguished American children's books published the previous year. However, many people became concerned that the artists creating picture books for children were as deserving of honor and encouragement as were the authors of children's books. Therefore in 1937, Frederic G. Melcher suggested the establishment of a second annual medal which was respectively called the Caldecott Medal (3). This medal was to be given to the artist who had created the most distinguished picture book of the year. Randolph Caldecott was one of a group of three influential children's illustrators working in England in the 19th century. The other two well-known illustrators of that time were Kate Greenaway and Walter Crane. Caldecott’s illustrations seemed to consist primarily of numerous dots and shading which is a technique that is usually done with the use of a pencil. His illustrations for children were unique to their time in both their humor and their ability to create a sense of movement...
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