Richard Heighway (1833–1901) was one of the lesser known illustrators of the later part of the nineteenth century. He embellished only three books, all for children: Blue Beard and Puss in Boots (1895), The Story of the Three Bears [1880], and The Fables of Aesop, a small masterpiece issued in an elaborate binding, also designed by the artist, in 1894. He may have worked anonymously in other publications, and his life and art are obscure. He does not feature in any of the standard literature and even basic facts are difficult to establish. In his encyclopaedic dictionary, Simon Houfe notes only that the artist flourished from 1894–98 (p.173), and he is missing from other reference books. None of this suggests that Heighway was significant. Yet his art is worth remembering: in many ways original while reflecting the influence of Charles Bennett, the cartoonists of Punch and the decorative style of the nineties, his illustrations are both inventive and amusing, perfect fare for the nursery while deploying an arch satire that appeals to adults. — Simon Cooke

Introductory material



Aesop’s Fables. Illustrated by Ernest Griset. London: Cassell, Petter, and Galpin, n.d. [1869]. Web. 25 March 2016.

Bennett, Charles. The Fables of Aesop.London: Bradbury & Evans [1857].

Blue Beard and Puss in Boots. Illustrated by Richard Heighway. London: Dent, 1895.

Bunyan, John. The Pilgrim’s Progress. Illustrated by Charles Bennett. London: Longman, 1860.

The Fables of Aesop. Edited by Joseph Jacobs and illustrated by Richard Heighway. London: Macmillan, 1894.

Houfe, Simon. The Dictionary of Nineteenth Century British Book Illustrators. Woodbridge: The Antique Collectors’ Club, 1978; revd ed., 1996.

The Story of the Three Bears. Illustrated by Richard Heighway. New York: McLoughlin [1880].

Last modified 6 April 2016