Virtual Children's Books Exhibits


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Stroke, Stroke





5.  A friend of youth.
W., illustrator.
Lectures at My School or Playground Conversations.
London: William Darton, junior, 1810.

This early picture of boys enjoying themselves at a swimming hole appears in a book describing sports and country life, not the miseries of boarding school life as the title suggests.

The artist’s identity remains a mystery, even though he had a distinctive style and worked for a very famous nineteenth-century children's book publisher. Only a few of the blocks he cut were signed: “W.” He seems to have had an affinity for genre scenes, having produced a volume of London cries and another of urban personalities.

Various examples of W’s vigorous wood engravings are reproduced in Lawrence Darton’s The Dartons: An Annotated Check-list of Children’s Books issued by Two Publishing Houses, 1787-1876 (London/ New Castle, Delaware: The British Library/ Oak Knoll Press, 2004).