Arthur Hughes, I Am Afraid of Falling Down There..., a wood engraving for a book illustration

England, AD 1868

An illustration to George Macdonald's At the Back of the North Wind, p. 80

Arthur Hughes (1832-1915), showed precocious talent as a child and as a result was permitted to enter the Government School of Design at the age of fourteen. A year later he joined the Royal Academy Schools, where he attracted favourable attention from the artists of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. He worked with Morris, Burne-Jones and Rossetti on murals at the Oxford Union, and later provided stained glass designs for Morris & Co. Ruskin described Hughes' painting April Love (1856, Tate Gallery, London) as 'exquisite in every way'. He sat for his friend Millais, as the model for The Proscribed Royalist (1853, private collection).

Hughes' later paintings lose much of the precision and imaginative vigour of his earlier works, but his book illustrations continued to be admired. This illustration first appeared in the children's periodical Good Words for the Young (Nov 1868 - Oct 1870), accompanying a serial by the editor, George Macdonald. His story At the Back of the North Wind was published in book form in 1871. It shows the sweetness and generalised forms typical of Hughes' illustrations for children. The block was engraved by the Dalziel Brothers.

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More information


P. Goldman, Victorian Illustrated Books 18 (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)

P. Goldman, Victorian illustration: the Pr (Aldershot, Scolar Press, 1996)


Height: 80.000 mm
Width: 50.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1992-4-6-190

not on MERLIN

Gift of Robin de Beaumont


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