I've mentioned before my obsession with all things 1920s, when Victorian daintiness had given way to art nouveau and then to art deco. The art and fashion going on from the 1880s through the 1930s was splendid.
Especially beautiful was the book illustration of the period, now referred to as the golden age of illustration.
Children's books, and the images they hold can have a lasting influence on young readers. Our imaginations are thrilled by images of dragons, trolls, and magical landscapes. I can see my own ideals of beauty stemming directly from the illustrations of princesses and heroes in the books of my childhood. And for me, Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz will always be blond, the way she looked in 1910, drawn by John R. Neill.
Neill is a fine example of Golden Age illustration, and he is in good company. As book printing techniques advanced during that era, illustrators were able to take more liberties with color and style, and the public responded with enthusiasm. How could they not? Look at some of the classic works of the era:
Sarah S. Stillwell