Arthur Joseph Gaskin (British, 1862-1928) Illustrations for the Shepheardes calendar  various sizes,
Lot 17*
Arthur Joseph Gaskin (British, 1862-1928) Illustrations for the 'Shepheardes calendar' various sizes, the largest 18 x 12 cm (7 1/16 x 4 3/4 in.) the smallest 15.5 x 11.5 cm (6 1/8 x 4 1/2 in.) unframed
Sold for £3,600 (US$ 6,050) inc. premium
Lot Details
Arthur Joseph Gaskin (British, 1862-1928)
Illustrations for the 'Shepheardes calendar' together with two print proofs for the calendar and a letter from the artist
signed with initials (lower right)
pencil, pen and black ink heightened with china white
various sizes, the largest 18 x 12 cm (7 1/16 x 4 3/4 in.) the smallest 15.5 x 11.5 cm (6 1/8 x 4 1/2 in.)


  • Arthur Gaskin was a teacher at the Birmingham Municipal School of Art and a designer for William Morris's Kelmskott Press. After meeting Morris, Gaskin applied himself to the study of decorative illustration and the crafts. In this latter field he became an accomplished jewelry designer and was appointed the Director of the Jewellers and Silversmiths School, Birmingham. As an illustrator Gaskin contributed to some of the finest books of the period. These included Hans Andersen’s Stories and Fairy Tales (1893), Good King Wenceslas (1895) and Spencer’s The Shepheardes Calendar (1897), the present lot. Gaskin was a prolific artist who contributed to The English Illustrated Magazine, The Quarto and Aubrey Beardsley’s famous, The Yellow Book. Throughout his career, Gaskin was a frequent exhibitor at many major institutions, such as the Royal Academy and the Royal Society of British Artists. Other examples of his drawings are included at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and the Birmingham Art Gallery.

    The Shepheardes Calendar ranks as one of the greatest achievements of the Kelmscott Press and of late nineteenth century illustration. The original calendar was published in 1579 and was written by Edmund Spenser. The Calendar was seen to mark the decisive beginning of Elizabethan poetry. Each month of the year was accompanied by pages of verse. Two of the pages illustrated in this catalogue were for July and November. The first verse of each poem is printed here below:

    Is not thilke same a goteheard prowde,
    That sittes on yonder bancke,
    Whose straying heard them slefe doth shrowde
    Emong the bushes rancke?

    Colin, my deare, when shall it please thee sing.
    As thou were wont, songs of some jouisaunce?
    Thy Muse to long slombreth in sorrowing,
    Lulled a slepe through loves misgovernaunce.

    The letter, also included in this lot, refers to the Shepheardes Calendar; with Gaskin lamenting the lack of time he has had to deal with it due to all his school and jewellery work. The letter reads:

    'My dear Lawrence,
    So many thanks for sending the picture. I am ashamed to give you so much trouble. Also for the drawings which arrived today - I have sent my drawings and hear from the gallery that there will be scarce room for so many so after all I am sending back the Shepheardes Calendar. Thank you very much for sending them. I wish I could see you often . . . the school work that and the jewellery seem to have taken all of my time and getting ready for this exhibition - its been an awful bother - we have some very beautiful work at the School I think. Talking is helping one - so glad to hear May is better. Our love to you all, ever yours sincerely, Arthur Gaskin.'
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