Caldecott, Randolph kôl´dəkət [key], 1846–86, one of the most popular late 19th-century English book illustrators. Born in Chester, he moved (1872) to London, where he began publishing illustrations in such periodicals as Punch, The Graphic, and The New York Daily Graphic. His journalistic work and illustrations for two Washington Irving collections brought him to the attention of a publisher who offered Caldecott the chance to illustrate a series of picture books. Hailed as his best work, these colored illustrations for 16 children's tales include The House That Jack Built, Hey Diddle Diddle, and The Grand Panjandrum Himself. The drawings made him famous, and two of these illustrated books were issued approximately every Christmas from 1878 until the year of his death. Caldecott is also known for his drawings of contemporary English country life and for his charming and humorous illustrations, including the Washington Irvings and Blackburn's Breton Folk, as well as for illustrations of adult novels and travel books. He also showed oil and watercolor paintings at the Royal Academy and elsewhere. The Caldecott Medal for excellence in children's-book illustration by an American citizen or resident is named for him.
See Randolph Caldecott's Picture Books (2007); memoir by H. Blackburn (1886, repr. 1969); biography by R. K. Engen (1977); E. T. Billington, ed., Randolph Caldecott Treasury (1978) and D. Ankele, ed., Randolph Caldecott (1995).
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