Autumn 2019

Encyclopedic ambitions

History of Illustration

Edited by Susan Doyle, Jaleen Grove, and Whitney Sherman. Fairchild Books, £171 (hardback), £64.80 (paperback)

English-language historical surveys of illustration have been undertaken on both sides of the Atlantic from the nineteenth century onwards. For all their virtues many have suffered from similar faults: parochial focus, exaggerated emphasis on biography, dissociation from cultural and textual settings, and especially in US entries, a tendency to slide into narratives of style. For far too long ‘the history of illustration’ has been poorly theorised, anecdotal and clubby.

Editor Susan Doyle and associate editors Jaleen Grove and Whitney Sherman have delivered something genuinely newsworthy: a true survey with encyclopedic aims, stretching from prehistory to the digital present.


D. B. Dowd Professor of Art and American Culture Studies at Washington University, St Louis

Cover of History of Illustration. Cover design by Brian Rea and Pablo Delcan.
Top. Copperplate engraving by Odoardo Fialetti (1573-1638) of the ‘gravid uterus’ in De formato foetu by Spiegel and Casseri, 1626.

Cover of History of Illustration. Cover design by Brian Rea and Pablo Delcan.

Read the full version in Eye no. 99 vol. 25, 2019


Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions and single issues.