Binding by Walter Crane. 7½ x 7 inches; engraved and printed in colour by Edmund Evans. This elaborate design combines the flat linearity, bold colour, simplified forms and rhythmic lines that were associated with the ‘Japanese style’ in traditional wood-cuts by Hiroshige and related masters. It is, at the same time, a neo-classical scene; fusing Japan and Greece, the cover embodies Crane’s eclectic intermingling of unconnected styles and idioms. The inclusion of a frog, mouse and owl amusingly prefigure the contents, as do the two cranes, which double up as the artist’s monogram. ‘Aesthetic’ in effect, the binding strongly recalls the decorative patterns of Crane’s tiles and other ceramics.

Photograph and text by Simon Cooke [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image and (2) link to this URL in a web document or cite it in a print one.]


Crane, Walter. Baby’s Own Aesop. London: George Routledge & Sons, 1887.

Created 23 January 2018