Thursday, October 9, 2014

Beautiful Book #22

An Alphabet by William Nicholson. Heinemann, 1897

William Nicholson is another artist and illustrator whose work you will know, even if you do not know his name, for late in his career he was asked to produce illustrations for Margery Williams' 1922 classic, The Velveteen Rabbit. It is his woodblock alphabet from very early on in his career, however, that I like best. With each letter representing a character type or profession, An Alphabet is  simple yet complex in its reflection of character, social strata, fin de si├Ęcle fashion, and emerging graphic design principles. As one half of The Beggarstaffs, Nicholson was an influential artist for late 19th C poster design and he went on to create other books of woodcut illustrations, to become a painter who exhibited in London, and to illustrate and author children's books.

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