Warwick Goble (1862 –1943) was born in Dalston, north London, the son of a commercial traveler, and educated and trained at the City of London School and the Westminster School of Art. He worked for a printer specializing in chromolithography and contributed to “The Pall Mall Gazette” and “The Westminster Gazette.” Goble began contributing half-tone illustrations to various magazines in 1890, including “The Boy’s Own Paper”, “Strand Magazine”, and “Pearson’s Magazine.” A few years later he started exhibiting his extraordinary work at the Royal Academy. His beautiful watercolor illustrations were well suited to the new books of the early twentieth century. He specialized in Japanese and Indian themes, but he did beautiful work for a number fairytale books.
Thanks to books such as “Rip Van Winkle” (1907) and “Arabian Nights” (1907), fantasy books containing color plates became incredibly popular. Arguably taking inspiration from Edmund Dulac‘s Japanese style and already an accomplished watercolor artist, Goble was well positioned to take up the mantle in a market that increasingly demanded color-plate books. He took to the task readily, producing more books in the period between 1909 and 1913 than he had done in the entirety of his career previously. He became the resident illustrator of gift books for MacMillan in 1909, where he illustrated “The Water Babies” (1909) “Green Willow and Other Japanese Fairy Tales” (1910) and which were amongst the most elaborately illustrated volumes of the time. Although the influence of Dulac existed in these works, it was clear that Goble was beginning to foster his own unique style at this point.
Laughing Elephant has reproduce Goble's work many times over the years. We used several of his lovely fairies in our recent Shape Book, "Fairyland."