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Illustration for 'The Elves and the Shoemaker' - elves leaving 
with their new clothes
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Illustration for 'The Elves and the Shoemaker' - elves leaving with their new clothes

George Roland Halkett (1865 - 1918)

Width: 17.9 cm (sheet); Height: 25.2 cm (sheet);

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Acquisition (source, method, date)
Witt Library; transfer; 1978 (circa)
D.1978.XX.17

About this work
George Halkett, art critic and editor of several weekly magazines, was best known as a political cartoonist. His illustrations to the Brothers Grimm's fairy tale 'Rumpelstiltskin' (1882) are possibly his only published illustrations for a children's book. The designs he made the next year for 'The Elves and the Shoemaker' followed the same format, but were evidently not published.

This selection of preparatory studies shows the artist's working ideas for black-and-white illustrations, some of them framed, to be set within the text. Starting with pencil, Halkett experiments with details, before finishing in pen and ink. The strong outlines, bright colours and solid black areas in these full-page illustrations were hallmarks of the style popularized by Walter Crane (1845-1915) in his widely influential 'Toy Books' published between 1865-76. The new picture book format replaced the more educational material read by previous generations of children. The titles are taken from Halkett's working notes. (Permanent collection label)



Copyright: © The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London

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