This page shows some examples of Randolph Caldecott's pictures.
It is not a comprehensive list of his work: if you require that, visit
our friends the R C Soc of America at
http://www.rcsamerica.com or look
in the Appendices of Rodney K Engen's book "Randolph
Caldecott: Lord of the Nursery".
To reduce download time, each picture (including our Logo at the top of each
of our pages) is shown in "thumbnail" size.
Click on it for a larger version.
Illustrations for Children's Story Books
|Granny's Story Box|
"by the author of 'Our White Violet', 'Sunny Days', etc", 1873
Illustrated by Randolph Caldecott; although his name (like the author's)
does not appear; his initials are on some of the larger pictures.
Darwin's Dovecot (Story by Mrs. J H Ewing), 1884|
Randolph's correspondence with Mrs. Ewing about this book, with interesting
insights into publication costs of the period, has been published in
"Yours Pictorially". For more details, click
They collaborated in two other Victorian moral tales before Mrs Ewing's
death: Jackanapes (1883) and Lob Lie-by-the-Fire (1885: see
For the text of Daddy Darwin's Dovecot, and Randolph's pictures, visit
| Jackanapes (Story by Mrs. J H
The story of Jackanapes is set in Goose Green, near Tunbridge Wells, Kent: an
area which Randolph would have known well. For the Frontispiece, click here.
A summary of this story, and sample pictures, can be found on
For the full text as HTML, with most of Randolph's illustrations, click on this URL:
| Lob Lie-by-the-Fire (Story by Mrs. J H Ewing),1885|
To see the full text of this story, with Randolph's illustrations, click here.
But watch out for some small scanning errors in the text! URL: http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/ewing/lob/lob.html
The Owls of Olynn Belfry, a Tale for Children, story by "A. Y. D.",
(1885 or 6)
This book is thought to have been a limited edition, and copies are now
rare. It is of particular interest because the scenes and people
depicted were from Chelsfield, Kent, the home of Randolph's wife Marian: see
our Brind page. For sample pictures and a
mystery about this book, click here or on "Owls"
at the bottom of this page.
Illustrated Poems (Annual "Picture Books")
For more about these, and the complete list of all 16 titles, see Nursery Rhymes.
The books were originally published by George Routledge & Sons, and great
care was taken to reproduce the colours exactly as the artist intended. In
later years, the books were re-issued by Frederick Warne & Co - but by this
time, Randolph had died, and the colours used were brighter but lost the
subtlety of the originals.
|The Diverting History of John Gilpin (poem by William Cowper)
This book has a special secret, and deserves its own page: click here.
|Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog (poem by Oliver Goldsmith) (1879)|
This was the subject of a famous parody, published
during the First World War. The pictures, while recognisably based on
Caldecott's originals, replaced the mad dog's head with those of the Kaiser
of Germany! To see the cover pictures of both parody and original,
click here or on the "Parodies"
button at the foot of this page. For more contents from both books,
|The Three Jovial Huntsmen (1880)|
For more about this, go to our "Nursery
Rhymes" page or click here.
Fox jumps over the Parson's Gate (1883)|
This was a Song which appeared in Victorian Music Books. The illustration shown here is the final picture in the original
edition. It was omitted from the Frederick Warne re-print.
(The front cover is on our Nursery Rhymes page.)
The Great Panjandrum Himself (1885)|
This is a nonsense story by Samuel
Foote (1720-1777) which had become very popular as a challenge to
memorise, because there is little or no logical connection between one line and the next.
University students in particular would learn it and
recite it to one another (rather as, over half a century later, students
developed a craze for "Winnie-the-Pooh" and it was translated into
Latin). Randolph Caldecott's illustrations include recognisable scenes of Whitchurch.
For one of the illustrations, see cover of "The Randolph Caldecott Treasury": click here.
For other illustrations, click here and here.
For the text, see http://www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/poems/208.html
|Mrs Mary Blaize (1885).|
Illustrating the poem by Oliver Goldsmith. Randolph's illustrations
give a more charitable interpretation of the story than perhaps the author
had in mind!
(Click here for separate page.)
|The Harz Mountains: a Tour in the Toy Country, by Henry Blackburn
Randolph Caldecott accompanied Henry Blackburn on this trip, and produced 27
of the book's 40 illustrations.
|North Italian Folk: Sketches of Town and Country Life,
by Mrs. Comyns Carr (1878).|
Only 400 copies of this book were produced in London, with all 28 of
Randolph's illustrations coloured by hand. (A surviving advance copy,
given by Randolph to his sister Sophia in 1877, has the original monochrome
illustrations.) Another limited edition was
printed in New York, USA.
|Breton Folk: an Artistic Tour in Brittany, by Henry Blackburn
This is prolifically illustrated: 170 pictures, all by Caldecott. The
illustrations are now in the Victoria
& Albert Museum, London. For an example, click here or on the "Breton Folk"
button at the bottom of this page. When Randolph died, the sorrowing
figure chosen for his memorial was a Breton child (click here
|Many of Randolph's illustrated stories, published in The Graphic
and later collected in books such as Randolph
Caldecott's Graphic Pictures, described his observations of life and
romance while travelling in resorts in England and abroad.|
Randolph's first picture for the monthly magazine The Graphic appeared
in 1872. From 1876 until after his death in 1886, he contributed
regularly, especially for December or Christmas editions; sometimes he provided
the cover for these editions too. Sometimes
he produced sketches with captions but no supporting text
(eg his sketches of Buxton,
published in March 1887. To see them, click here).
On other occasions the pictures illustrated a (usually humorous) story;
sometimes Randolph himself appeared in a picture, observing the events
The picture shown here is typical. From the story
"Mr Oakball's winter in Florence", it is captioned "At last we
came upon him in the Uffizi Gallery - deeply interested in the copying of a
picture". It shows very little of Florence's world-famous art
gallery! First published in The Graphic in Dec 1882, it was
re-published in More Graphic Pictures and The Complete Collection,
For 3 other examples, from Randolph's stories "Diana
"Mr Oakball's winter in Florence" and "The
Curmudgeons' Christmas", published in The Graphic, click here.
For one of Randolph's sketches of people in Brighton, 1879 (published Dec 1879
and reprinted in Gleanings from The "Graphic", 1889), click here.
Several compilations of these pictures were published:
Another compilation, in a smaller format than these, included some pictures
which were published in The Graphic. This was
After Randolph's death, further compilations of the same pictures were
|The Complete Collection of Randolph Caldecott’s Contributions to the
"Graphic" (1888) was a limited edition of 1250 numbered
copies, but was followed by two other editions, published in 1891 and 1898
(the latter in a different-shaped format). It is not truly
"complete", as it does not include Randolph's occasional
contributions in 1872 and 1874.|
|Gleanings from the "Graphic" (1889, 84 pp). This
re-publishes some of the articles from the other volumes. Only a few
of its pages are in colour.|
Illustrations for other books
Caldecott's fame as a book illustrator began with the Travel book The
Harz Mountains (see above), and further increased with the success of two books
written by Washington Irving:
The first of these contained 120 black & white illustrations by
Caldecott; the second contained 116.
For a picture from Old Christmas, made popular by Christmas cards,
Another picture from this book, of the Parson, is available here.
For Caldecott's cartoon on the favourable reviews of Old Christmas,
|"Some of Aesop's Fables, with
Modern Instances, shewn in designs by Randolph Caldecott" (1883).|
This was not one of the "Picture Books" and differs from them in
many ways. It was published not by Routledge but by Macmillan; all the
illustrations are monochrome; it was a large format (11.3 inches high x 9.0
inches wide) hardback book with 80 pages. And although the Victorians
kept trying to use Aesop's moral tales to train their children, the concepts
are frequently beyond children and Randolph adds to each story a cartoon
showing Victorian human behaviour which shows, usually humorously, the truth
of Aesop's ancient words - but these again would be beyond most
children. The text was specially translated from the Greek by Randolph's
brother Alfred (who got no credit on the cover but was mentioned, in smaller
print than Randolph, on the title page) - but Randolph overrode his brother's
accuracy on the text (see our "Alfred"
page). The book was not a commercial success.
For one of the Fables, with its illustrations, click here
or on the "Aesop" button at the foot
of this page.
For Randolph's cartoon of the co-producers, click here.
Randolph's pictures proved so popular that they were re-issued in various
compilations. Examples are -
|Randolph Caldecott's Picture Book
Includes John Gilpin, the House that Jack Built, the Babes in the Wood, and an Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog. These were each originally published separately: see
above and Nursery
Caldecott's Picture Book No. 2
Includes The Three Jovial Huntsmen,
Sing a Song for Sixpence, The Queen of
Hearts and The Farmer's Boy. These were each originally published separately: see
above and Nursery
For another illustration from the latter of these, click here
or on the "Parodies" button at the foot
of this page.
|Randolph Caldecott's Graphic Pictures (1883, 96 pp)|
|The Hey Diddle Diddle Picture Book
Includes Hey Diddle Diddle and Baby Bunting; The Milkmaid; The
Fox Jumps Over the Parson's Gate; and A Frog he would a'Wooing Go
(the 4 Picture Books produced in 1882 and 1883).
|R. Caldecott's Collection of Pictures & Songs (1881 or 1883?)|
The first 8 of the Picture Books combined in a single volume.
Re-issued by Frederick Warne & Co, 1896.
|R. Caldecott's Picture Book No. 1 (miniature size, hardback,
5½ x 4¾ inches, published by Warne, 1906-7)|
Includes 3 rather than 4 titles: John Gilpin, The Three Jovial
Huntsmen, and The Mad Dog.
As this edition was produced long after Randolph's death, who drew the front
cover with its combination of characters from three of the Picture
Books? (Our thanks to Diane Bartlett for this picture.)
|R. Caldecott's Picture Book No. 3
(miniature size, hardback, 4¾ x 5½ inches, published by Warne, 1906-7)|
Includes Hey Diddle Diddle & Baby Bunting -
Ride a cock horse to
Banbury Cross - The Milkmaid - A Frog he Would a-Wooing Go (a slightly
different compilation from that of "The Hey Diddle Diddle Picture
Book": see above).
Four similar miniature compilations - Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4 - were published at the
same time as the two detailed above. Nos. 1 & 2 are in
"portrait", and 3 & 4 are in "landscape", format, to
match the books in them: see our "Editions"
|A First Caldecott Collection (miniature size, hardback,
5.7 x 4.3 inches, ISBN 0-7232-3432-9, published on the Centenary of
1986, by F. Warne & Co, - they dropped the "Ltd" by this time.) Includes only 2
titles: The House that Jack Built
and A Frog He Would a-Wooing Go.
Similar miniature compilations, A Second and A Third Caldecott
Collection, were published at the same time.|
As well as various Collections and Compilations of Randolph's works, some of
which are described above, other posthumous spin-offs have been -
|Randolph Caldecott's Painting Books.
(Published by Warne, from 1901/2) These were designed as colouring
books for children, with full-colour pictures alongside outline versions of
the same picture. Surviving copies, particularly in good condition,
are rare, so those that have survived command much higher prices than the
Picture Books themselves. At least 3 "Series" were
produced. (Pictures kindly provided by Claireshoppin.)|
The Afghan War Medal
For details, click here or on the "Afghan
Medal" button at the foot of this page.
Randolph Caldecott exhibited three times in the Royal Academy of Arts,
- "There were three ravens sat on a tree" (Exhibit No. 415)
"Horse fair in Brittany"; metal bas-relief (Exhibit No. 1499).
For more about this, see the section on "Sculptures"
below. To see it, click here or on
the "Sculptures" button at the end of this page.
- "So they hunted and they holla'd
Till the setting of the sun." (from Three
(Exhibit No. 597)
- Scene from Spenser's "Astrophel"; bas-relief.
"And many a nymph, both of the wood and brooke, etc." (Exhibit No.
Source: "The Royal Academy Exhibitors" (vol up to
1904), page 375.
Randolph's sculpture of a crouching cat, ready to pounce, is in the Victoria & Albert Museum,
London. His picture of a cat in exactly the same crouching position is in
"The House that Jack Built".
To see both of these, click here.
He was taught to sculpt by his friend
Aime Jules Dalou, the French sculptor: in return, he taught M. Dalou.
The V&A also holds 4 other sculptures of Randolph's:
|Horse fair at le Folguet, Brittany, France (bas relief: to see it, click here or on the "Sculptures" button
at the end of this page);|
|Shepherdess feeding calves (pastiglia);|
|Hunting Scene (1877);|
|another Hunting Scene (pastiglia).|
Randolph tried his hand at several bas reliefs. One such was the
"Horse fair in Brittany", exhibited at the Royal
Academy in 1876 (see above). It is
illustrated in Henry Blackburn's 1886 biography of
Randolph, at page 137. The favourable comments made about this work are quoted including
The Saturday Review relating it to the Parthenon sculptures (the "Elgin
marbles") in the British Museum. One modern authority on
Randolph considers this to be "a pivotal work at the time he was deciding
between becoming an artist or continuing as an illustrator".
Blackburn's book also mentions another bas relief, "A wild boar hunt",
produced in 1876 and exhibited in the Grosvenor Gallery in 1878.
Several of Randolph's pictures look like bas reliefs, as if he was considering making
bas reliefs from these designs.
The bronze monkey mystery: see our "Questions" page.
Caldecott loved poking gentle fun at the Establishment, at things that were
considered Important, and at himself. His cartoons were published in
magazines such as London Society and Punch, from 1871
onwards. A parody of his well-known Three Jovial Huntsmen appeared
in Punch on 6th December 1933. For examples of his cartoons, from
various sources, click:
|here (examples from Punch);|
| here (British
| here (self-portrait
listening to review of Old Christmas).|
We are adding some examples of parodies of Randolph's work. For the
first ones so far, click the "Parodies" button
Some Museums hold lists of their Caldecott items which are not yet
online. Where we have obtained such lists - and permission to publish
them - we are adding them to our "Catalogues"
page: click here or on the relevant button