The Cherry Woman

Kate Greenaway was a Victorian artist and writer known for her children’s book illustrations.

She was educated at home, and then attended several dame schools. When she was 12 she attended night classes at Finsbury School, a branch of the South Kensington School of Art. Night courses were open only to women and offered training in drawing, porcelain painting, lithography and wood engraving, and followed the National Course of Art Training in decorative arts. The course was based around copying geometrical and botanical designs. Its aim was to train future artisans in the areas of wallpaper, carpet and tile design.

In 1864 she attended the Royal Female School of Art. For the first time she was able to draw the human figure. In Victorian society it was unacceptable for women to draw the naked figure. Instead women drew from plaster casts and models dressed in historical and ornamental costume. Kate Greenaway used these methods to study the human figure, but it did not compare with studying from life. She never managed fully to master human anatomy.

In 1871 she became a student at the Slade School of Art, under Sir Edward Poynter, the painter, designer and craftsman. He encouraged students to be expressive and creative. She continued to be frustrated in the way women were segregated from men in the life class.

Greenaway’s training coincided with an explosion of the card market that by the 1860s was at the height of its popularity. In 1871 Marcus Ward & Co, one of the main Victorian card printers, hired Kate Greenaway. Her designs were very popular and sold well.

Object Summary

Accession Loan No.
Fine Art
Collection Class
Collector Excavator
Veitch, Sir Harry James (from the collection of)
watercolour on card
Common Name
The Cherry Woman
Simple Name
Inscription Transcription
K Greenaway; EXETER No 19; 30
Period Classification
Victorian (1837-1901)
Production Town
Production Country
United Kingdom: England
Production Person Initials
Production Person Surname
Production Year Low
Production Year High

View Full Details

The Cherry Woman