Walter Crane, RWS 1845-1915
George Meredith's Farina
Scanned from the Memorial Edition of Meredith's works, Vol XXI. ©The British Library. All Rights Reserved (shelf mark, 2344.c-d).
Caption and commentary by Jacqueline Banerjee
In 1865 Crane was embarking on his career as a children's illustrator, working on Routledge's immensely popular "Toy Books" series, of which there would be thirty-seven over the next ten years. It was highly appropriate that he should also have illustrated the title page of a new edition of George Meredith's Farina: A Legend of Cologne at this time. This was Meredith's second fantasy, originally published in 1857 after The Shaving of Shagpat (1856), when he was still following "the vagaries of his own brain" (Letters 1: 156), and there is a boyishly swashbuckling flavour about the whole production. Crane has caught this perfectly.