CRANE, Walter   [1845 - 1915

Although born in the city on 15th August 1845 Walter Crane's association with the city was to be  a very short one.  His father, Thomas Crane, was a noted portrait painter and miniaturist, who at the time of Walter's birth was living at 12 Maryland Street L1. However, feeling that his health would benefit from a milder climate, Thomas Crane moved his family to Devon when Walter was just 3 months old.
In 1857 the family moved to London and aged 13, in 1859, his father secured him an apprenticeship with the wood engraver W J Linton where he leanred how to produce engravings for book illustration. His father died later in 1859 and on completing his apprenticeship Walter began to contribute to the upkeep of his mother and siblings.
Whilst seeking commissions he was also paitning and in 1862 his work The Lady of Shalott was hung at the Royal Academy.

In 1865 Crane was asked to contribute illustrations to a series of books for very young children, nursery rhymes and fairy tales, to be printed by Edmund Evans, the leading woodblock colour printer in London, and published by Routledge. Over the next ten years Crane illustrated thirty-seven of these Toy Books, as they were known. Despite this considerable success Crane strove to find success as an artist and as an illustrator of adult works.
He became increasingly involved in socialist politics, becoming an assocaite of William Morris, and revelling in the higher status which the aesthetic movement brought to decorative art. After Morris' death he was probably the leading decorative artist in Britain. He enjoyed fame and public honours throughout the 1890's and 1900's, both at home and abroad. He also became a much admired writer on art, also publishing an autobiography.
On 18 December 1914 his wife, Mary, was found dead on the railway line near Kingsnorth in Kent. The coroner's jury returned a verdict of suicide during temporary insanity. Walter Crane did not long outlive his wife: he died at Horsham Cottage Hospital, in Sussex, on 14 March 1915.

12 Maryland Street L1

I am not 100% certain that this was number 12 at the time of Crane's birth.

An example of Crane's work on the 'Toy Books'.


There is a comprehensive entry for Walter Crane in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.  and a reasonably substantial entry in Wikipedia.