“Living in that childish wonder is a most
—I can so well remember it.
There was always something more—
behind and beyond everything—to me,
the golden spectacles were very, very big.”
Originally named Catherine, Kate was
born on March 17, 1846 in Hoxton, North London.
Her father John Greenaway was a master engraver
and her mother, Elizabeth Catherine Jones, was an
accomplished seamstress. Kate’s choice of
profession was clearly influenced by John Greenaway.
They had a special bond and he served as a
guiding force throughout her life. It is often
thought that he was Kate’s biggest influence,
however, her mother influenced her subject
matter more than any one.
Money was always tight because John supported
his widowed mother and two unmarried sisters as
well as his growing family. When times got tough,
Elizabeth took financial matters into her own hands.
She moved the family to Islington and opened a
dress shop making clothing for children.
She was so successful that she had to hire outworkers.
Later, she expanded her services to include millinery,
underclothing and eventually lady’s clothing.
Kate lived a happy and carefree childhood.
She enjoyed watching the well dressed people
come in and out of the shop. She had a
photographic memory and many of the outfits
her mother made reappeared in her books later.
For the most part, Kate was left on her own
to explore her surroundings and daydream.
Her first book with Evans, ‘Under the Window’,
came out in October of 1879. Evan’s was so taken
with Kate’s drawings that no expense was spared.
He used four color blocks to reproduce her
delicate watercolors—red, blue, yellow and flesh.
The publisher, Routledge, advised Evan’s against
a large printing but the 20,000 copies sold almost
immediately and Evans had to produce
a second printing of 70,000.
Her earnings allowed her and her father to
share expenses for a nicer home in a higher
class neighborhood. She now had room for a
studio and garden. Kate worked everyday in
her studio from eight until one. She would
draw from her child models or manikins dressed
in the outfits that she designed and sewed herself.
She spent her afternoons walking or window shopping,
returning home later for the highlight of her day,
afternoon tea. In the summer, she had tea in
her beautiful garden where she would plant
the flowers that she would need in her illustrations.
Night time was spent reading or sewing.
For the next several years, Kate and Evans
collaborated on several more books, all of
which did well. Evans also convinced her
to illustrate her first Almanack in 1883,
which sold over 90,000 copies. Eventually Kate
was to receive five pounds per drawing
and half of the profits.
A few children books:
-Under the Window (1879)
-Mother Goose (1881)
-A Day in a Child’s Life (1882)
-Little Ann - A Book (1883)
-The Language of Flowers (1884)
-Marigold Garden (1885)
-Kate Greenaway's Alphabet (1885)
-Birthday Book (1886)
-The Pied Piper of Hamelin (1888)
Discover the magic and enchantment