History of picture books for children

I knew that photographs in Victorian and Edwardian times were made “colour” by the adding by hand of colour washes either in ink or watercolour, but books?

Handpainted books were made in sweatshop conditions as women and children hand coloured the mass produced picture books for children. This wasn’t like the scriptoriums of medieval monks where artistry and love were allowed to flourish, this was banal and repetitive work. Perhaps looking at some of the rather unattatractive pictures we can sense the grind of those women and children trying to earn enough to live on.

These two videos look at the McLoughlin book company and their books.

At last systems for printing colour are invented and the quality of illustrations in children’s books improves.


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