Green Grow the Rashes O; Spread 0

Green Grow the Rashes O; Spread 0 cover


Joseph Crawhall (1821 – 1896), was a member of an old and unusually gifted family of Newcastle upon Tyne. His father, also called Joseph (1793 – 1853), was a successful businessman and an affluent member of the Newcastle society of the time; he was also a self-taught writer and artist. His son, another Joseph (1861 – 1913), was a member of the ‘Glasgow Boys’ and one of Northumberland’s most talented animal and bird painters.

Joseph the second inherited his father’s artistic talents. He was a wood engraver, figure and genre painter in watercolour, caricaturist, commercial artist and book designer; much of his work reflects his interests in angling, music and antiquarianism.

He was inspired by the illustrated broadsheets and chapbooks (small pamphlets of tales, ballads and similar popular literature) hawked about the countryside by chapmen in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. (Newcastle had been a famous centre for this type of printing.)

Joseph had quite an irreverent sense of humour based on his observations of Tyneside and Northumbrian life. For many years he supplied his friend, the celebrated Punch contributor Charles Keene, with hundreds of rough sketches together with humorous comments and Keene re-drew them for use in Punch. They showed a great sense of fun and characterisation of human types of all classes and are amusing social documents of the time.

Green Grow the Rashes O; or Remarkable Incidents in a Quiet Life is an example of this genre. There are twenty watercolours contained in the book, all with humorous captions, painted by Joseph Crawhall and published in 1881. They appear to be rough sketches with handwritten notes pencilled in the margins.

There are many examples of work by the three Crawhall artists in the Local Studies collection of Newcastle City Library.

Collection: Crawhall
Number: L759 C899