One of my favorite things about gutenberg.org and archive.org (both sites that offer books in the free domain) are the original illustrations found in copies of works from the 19th century and early 20th century.
Kate Greenaway first caught my attention with her illustrations of Elizabeth von Arnim’s April baby, May baby, and June baby.
Kate’s vintage illustrations of Victorian children are both nostalgic and idealistic, of fancy teas and apple pickings, birthday parties, dolls, teeter-totters, balancing on stone walls, and learning lessons of all kinds.
In this millennial era where all innocence seems lost at times, I can be transported to a time when moral values were our most important priority in this country. Morality does not mean accepting everything. It means being sorry when you are wrong and maturing to a place that you do the right thing, even when no one is looking.
How beautiful to see a girl embrace her femininity and aspire to be a wife, a mother, or woman who lives her life for others:
Not limited to children, Ms. Greenaway’s illustrations also give us a picture of a time when we valued the elderly and respected their wisdom and experience.
In the end, I most appreciate the imagination of the artist.
My best friend from childhood is now an artist, and I can only admire from afar the talent of painters, illustrators, and all other types of craftsmen.