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Dickydidos: the story of two little people and a dog.

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (drawn)

  • Date:

    ca. 1900 (drawn)
    1903 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Kidd, William Graham (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Ink and opaque water-colour on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

William Graham Kidd (1874-1955) was an artist, illustrator and designer of Scottish descent. Born in Leith, he was apprenticed to an architect but in the 1890s moved to London to pursue a career in interior design. Around the beginning of the twentieth century he had established a reputation for wall coverings and fabrics featuring themes from popular nursery rhymes and produced work for a number of well-known clients, including Liberty & Co. and the Lancashire wallpaper manufacturer, C. & J.G. Potter.

Kidd also illustrated children's books and postcards including, most notably, the first rag book published by Dean & Son, The Life of a Bold AB on his Ship in the Rolling C (1902), an experiment in creating a truly indestructible book for children. The book was printed in a single colour on hand-bleached calico, sewn, rolled and tied with green ribbon. The Publisher's Circular reported in 1902, 'One of the biggest novelties we have ever seen in the way of so-called 'Children's Xmas books' will shortly be shown around the trade. We venture to predict that it will not only be the greatest novelty in the market this year, but it is at the same time so thoroughly practical and such a splendid conception that we marvel that it has never been done before'. A first edition of 5000 copies was published in July 1902 with a second edition in September and third edition in December. Its immediate success convinced Dean & Son to create a subsidiary company, 'The Deans's Rag Book Company', to publish rag books and other toy products made from calico.

Kidd went on to illustrate Dickydidos: the Story of Two Little People and a Dog (London: Grant Richards, 1903) and Baa Baa Black Sheep (London: Dean & Son, 1904). This illustration for Dickydidos: the Story of Two Little People and a Dog was printed as a chromolithograph by Thos. N. Storer of Nottingham. (See p.12, P. & D. Cope, Dean's Rag Books & Rag Dolls, 2009).

Physical description

Illustration for bookplate on p. [82] of Dickydidos: the story of two little people and a dog. The illustration is entitled Miss Keepemneat and depicts an old woman, Miss Keepemneat, standing facing the right wearing a monocule and holding a cane in her right hand.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (drawn)


ca. 1900 (drawn)
1903 (published)


Kidd, William Graham (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Ink and opaque water-colour on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'"Youth at the prow"-9. By W. Etty, R.A.'
Printed on the back of the mount.

Inscription in pencil on the front of the mount.

Pencil marks
Faint pencil marks on the surface of the illustration.


Height: 25 cm, Width: 20 cm

Object history note

Illustration for 'Dickydidos: the story of two little people and a dog' by Will Kidd.

Descriptive line

Ink and watercolour drawing by Will Kidd. Illustration for 'Dickydidos: the story of two little people and a dog', published by Grant Richards in 1903.


Ink; Paper; Watercolour; Pencil


Drawing (image-making)

Subjects depicted



Illustration; Books; Children & Childhood; National Art Library

Production Type



National Art Library

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