Wenceslaus Hollar

Wenceslaus Hollar. Aesop’s Fables. London, 1673.

Wenceslaus Hollar. Aesop’s Fables. London, 1673.

Czech born Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) is commonly considered the first artist working in England to treat book illustration as an independent art form. He worked in London for over thirty years and spent a further eight years in exile on the continent with Royalists. His serious work as an illustrator of imaginative literature is closely associated with publisher John Ogilby (1600-1676). In 1666, the Great Fire of London destroyed Ogilby’s stock, including the first version of Aesop illustrated by Hollar, but Ogilby  bounced back with this new enlarged edition containing some fifty more fables illustrated by both Hollar and Francis Barlow (1626?-1704) the first major English-born book illustrator.