Collecting Illustrated Books

Charles Keeping, The Dancer at Burton Fair

A wonderfully fluid illustration by Charles Keeping (1924-1986). From the book ‘The Dancer at Burton Fair’.

Collecting Illustrated Books

Collecting illustrated books can be a fascinating pastime. People collect books for many reasons. Some seek out the children’s books that were so magical when they were young. Some collectors are just entranced by the beauty and quality of the artwork and illustrations, and thus collect to enjoy.

Some illustrated books tell a story in a unique way, and not all of these are for children. Writers and artists such as Joe Sacco use their skills in very powerful ways. In his book ‘Safe Area Gorazde‘ Joe Sacco uses cartoon style illustration to describes his experiences in Bosnia in 1994–95.

Graphic novels are a category of books that has evolved into a subject of great interest to collectors. Artists such as Posy Simmonds  and Raymond Briggs have created beautiful illustrated stories. Visit any bookstore selling graphic novels and you will be amazed at the range of artwork on display.

Art and craftsmanship combined

Collecting illustrated books from private presses, such as the Golden Cockerel Press or Whittington Press, can be a wonderful in-depth subject to explore. Many private press books are wonderful examples of the combined skills of writer, artist, typographer, printer and bookbinder.

Even though the private presses, such as the Golden Cockerel Press, were in their heyday in the 1930s and 40s many private presses, such as The Fleece Press, still produce beautiful books today. Their recent series of books on John Buckland Wright are remarkable publications and much sought after by collectors.

The magic of children’s books

Visit a bookshop today and view the new children’s books. You will be amazed at the quality and magic being produced. Look further and you will discover illustrated books of all kinds to delve into, admire and collect.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets First Edition
The Matchlock Gun
The Hiroshima Story, Toshi Maruki
A House in the Woods, written and illustrated by Inga Moore

See some of our current children’s books.

See the illustrated books in our bookstore.

See some of our private press books.

See our current featured illustrators.

Read our article on collecting children’s books.

Read about the Alice Award. This is given annually to an illustrated book that makes a valuable contribution to its field and demonstrates high standards of production.