[Thackeray created the decorated initial “T” for Vanity Fair. —  George P. Landow]

Illuminated initial T

he change which Bewick Wrought in juvenile literature is one of his noteworthy triumphs. To improve the style of infants' books may seem a trifling matter, but there can be no question that a child brought up among the elegant toy-books of the present day must have an aesthetic feeling that never could have been hoped to be implanted by the pitiable pamphlets of Bewick's earliest days. The revolution Bewick's art brought about in these little works is felt to the present time. He led the way with the amusing and, to young folks, entertaining alphabets of illustrated letters he followed by introducing rational and pleasing designs for fables and story-books, until they slowly but surely took the place of the paltry illustrations he found. As their influence became more and more widely spread, they paved the way for the high-class books of to-day. Colour he only very occasionally tried on his engravings, but he first demonstrated the fact that children are most satisfied with what is lastingly good, even in black and white. [30]


Thomson, David Croal. The Life and Works of Thomas Bewick being an Account of His Career and Acivements in Art with a Notice of the Works of John Bewick. London: The Art-Journal, 1882. Smithsonian Libraries site. Web. 19 September 2014.

Last modified 20 September 2014