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Book illustration
  • Book illustration
    Nielsen, Kay, born 1886 - died 1957
  • Enlarge image

Book illustration

  • Place of origin:

    Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1916 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Nielsen, Kay, born 1886 - died 1957 (illustrator)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and ink on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Gift of Mr A. E. Anderson

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case EDUC, shelf 1

The story of Three Billy Goats Gruff is a popular children's tale which originated in Scandinavia. Danish-born Kay Nielsen's Scandinavian roots inspired him to become an illustrator. As a child he drew Viking sagas as they were read aloud to him. He was also influenced by Swedish fairytale artist John Bauer and later became known for his own fairytale illustrations, published as limited edition gift-books by Hodder and Stoughton from 1913.

This image also shows elements of Art Nouveau. Nielsen studied in Paris at a time when Art Nouveau was still influential. He combined the Art Nouveau style with patterns inspired by Japanese art, also in vogue at the time.

Physical description

Line drawing depicting a river crossing. A goat crosses over a bridge made of logs. A troll sits underneath on a grassy knoll. On the other side of the bridge is a stylized willow tree.

Place of Origin

Britain (made)


1916 (made)


Nielsen, Kay, born 1886 - died 1957 (illustrator)

Materials and Techniques

Pen and ink on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Monogram; top right of image; ink

? 3 Billygoats Gruff
Inscription; decoration; below image; pencil

top right above image; pencil


Height: 13.2 cm image, Width: 11.9 cm image, Height: 24.4 cm sheet, Width: 16.6 cm sheet

Descriptive line

Book illustration, possibly to the story of 'Three Billygoats Gruff', drawing of a goat crossing a bridge and a troll sitting underneath, by Kay Nielsen, in pen and ink on paper, probably 1916.

Production Note

probably dates to 1916


Paper; Pen and ink



Subjects depicted

Bridge; Troll; Goat


Illustration; Children & Childhood; Drawings


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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