Walter Crane (1845 - 1915) was an English artist best known for his illustrations of children's books, nursery rhymes in particular. He was also an ardent Socialist, believing strongly in the importance of art, culture and craftsmanship in the world. He joined the Arts and Crafts movement which began in England in the late 19th century, and strove to make art a part of everyday life. Crane's journey as an artist began in earnest when in his early adolescence he spent three years as an apprentice to wood-engraver William James Linton.
Crane's study of wood-engraving, as well as methods such as Japanese wood blocks and colour prints led him to create some of the era's most rich, detailed children's art. He was the man behind Toy Books, so-called because of their small size and short length - perfect for little hands and imaginations.
In addition to his passion for children's illustration and painted art, Crane also spent time in his career pursuing interests in interior design, ceramics and textiles. Those interested in his artistic techniques and methods may wish to read his books Line and Form and Of the Decorative Illustration of Books Old and New. He died in 1915, having become well-known and admired. His contributions and influence can still be seen in contemporary children's illustrations.