What a cheeky little fellow is this little baby in a highchair. Sitting in his high chair, with his foot on the dining table, a spoon in one hand and a cup in the other. Doesn’t he look like a little tyrant demanding his meal? Or perhaps is fully satisfied after eating his meal?
This baby drawing is by the wonderful book illustrator Walter Crane (1845–1915). Crane was from England and is considered, by many, to be among the most influential artists of his time.
The book this charming illustration came from was written by the popular children’s book author – Mrs. Molesworth. Mary Louise Molesworth (1839-1921) started out writing adult fiction but it was her children’s books, designed for girls of the age we would today refer to as ‘tweens’ that are most well-known. Hidden amongst the story were often little bits of moral instruction. Her description of the illustration is absolutely wonderful and I thought I would share that with you too.
He had so many things to do during a meal, you see, which grown-up children think quite unnecessary. He had to drum with a spoon, first in one fat hand and then in the other; he had to dip his crust first in nurse’s cup of tea and next in Hal’s jug of milk to see which tasted best, and there would have been no fun in doing either if he hadn’t had to stretch a long way across; and besides all this he felt really obliged now and then to put his feet upon the table for a change, one at a time, of course. For even he, clever as he was, could not have got both together out of the bars of his chair without toppling over.
This image is copyright free and in the public domain anywhere that extends copyrights 70 years after death or at least 120 years after publication when the original illustrator is unknown.