A Possible Illustrated Books Timeline

Because my personal interest in the development of children’s illustration, from this edition of the series about the Evolution of Pictured Books I will focus only on research about children´s books.

The First Picture Books for Children
Notes and compilation by Estela Agudelo

Children literature began in the early seventeenth century with books created with educational, religious and moralizing purposes. At this time the aesthetic appearance did not matter, it was only until the eighteenth century that the real first intended for children books came, and only until the nineteenth century when the children’s books market was set to be paid attention to the aesthetic of this genre, and when the focus was on creating children's books as beautiful as possible, thus began the real development of children's illustration. Although the idea of ​​pictorial art directed especially to children is relatively recent, historians point two key points on this topic:

Kunst und Lehrbüchlein
Art and Instruction

Woodcut from the book Art and Instruction by the artist Jost Amman.
The first European prototype of children's picture book titled Kunst und Lehrbüchlein (Art and Instruction) was published in Frankfurt, Germany in 1580. On its cover is stated that it was an art book and instructions for young people. This book is full of charming woodcuts produced by the artist Jost Amman (Zürich 1539 - Númemberg 1591).

The Orbis Pictus Sensualium

Orbis Pictus Sensualim, English edition, 1659.

The Orbis Pictus is a book of great fame written by the monk and Czech pedagogue John Amos Comenius. It is an illustrated guide to reading and it was also a milestone in the education history. Written in the mid-seventeenth century is considered the first pictured book for children and in turn the precursor of the use of audiovisual techniques in the classroom. This book is a remarkable collection of drawings and moving mechanisms to make more entertaining reading and reinforce the acquisition of knowledge. It was originally published in Latin and German in 1658 and covers a wide range of subjects: nature, botany, zoology, religion, human beings and their activities.

According to Ellwood Cubberley a professor of Pedagogy of the twentieth century, the Orbis Pictus “remains unrivaled in Europe for one hundred and fifteen years and was used in the introductory courses for almost two hundred years”. In fact many current textbooks follow the same generic model of the work of Comenius illustrations as teaching aids.

SALISBURY, Martin. llustrating Children's books: Creating Pictures for Publication. Quarto Publishing plc.

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