Basil Blackwood

Ian Basil Gawaine Templeton Blackwood, also known as Lord Blackwood, but mostly signed simply as BB or BTB was British illustrator who will be best remembered by his work with very talented British writer of French origin Hilaire Belloc (they met at their studies in Oxford). Together they made several books for children which were mocking too moralistic writings, characteristic for the end of 19th and beginning of 20th century.

Here we go with a gallery of all illustrations from The Moral Alphabet, published in 1899:

letter-z letter-a1 letter-a2 letter-a3 letter-a4 letter-b1 letter-b2 letter-b3 letter-c letter-d1 letter-d2 letter-e letter-f letter-g letter-h1 letter-h2 letter-i letter-j1 letter-j2 letter-k letter-l1 letter-l2 letter-m letter-n1 letter-n2 letter-o letter-p1 letter-p2 letter-p3 letter-q letter-r letter-s letter-t letter-u1 letter-u2 letter-v letter-w letter-x letter-y

I suppose it doesn’t matter which illustration represents each letter, maybe I should give some additional info about this book…

These illustrations were done before more famous Cautionary Tales for Children, but quite similar in style which was officially developed only few years later and is now called German Expressionism.

This artistic style was developed as an answer to sometimes boring realism, at first popular only among few painters but becoming important few decades later (after World War) when German movie makers started to make influential movies which now belong to classic art education.

Mentioning World War we can add Basil Blackwood, who was lawyer by education, served as 2nd Lieutenant in British army,  was severely injured, moved from front and later, when he recovered, killed in another battle. His body was never identified and he is buried in one of many common graves.

Although his black and white line drawings would be probably considered as totally inappropriate for kids today, they are a part of history of children literature.


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