Cambridge University Library


Beauty and the Book

Edmund Evans

Image from 'The art album'

The art album: sixteen facsimiles of watercolour drawings by George Cattermole [et al.], (London : W. Kent & Co., 1861), Engraved and printed by Edmund Evans

Edmund Evans is perhaps principally remembered for his the colour-printing of children's books by Walter Crane, Randolph Caldecott, and Kate Greenaway, but he also produced illustrations for gift books like the Art album, here illustrated.

From 1865 to 1869 he was occupied with the production of a series of sixpenny toy books, published partly by Ward & Lock and partly by Routledge, with illustrations in colour by Walter Crane. At the end of 1879 Evans made another venture with ‘Under the Window,’ by Kate Greenaway, a book that won immediate popularity, and was the forerunner of a fruitful partnership. Evans also printed the well-known ‘Graphic’ pictures by Randolph Caldecott and, by persuading him to embark on illustrations for children's books, inaugurated the famous series which began in 1878 with ‘John Gilpin’. The clean lines and flat planes of colour in these artists illustrations worked extremely well with Evans's reproductive process, which the engraver could reproduce almost in facsimile.

In The Art Album, he reproduced the watercolour paintings of some of the best-known artists of the day. Shortly before his death Evans admitted that colour-printing from wood must yield to the three-colour process.