The Medici Society and W. Russell Flint

© 2013, Sarah Lane
The Heroes, Title Page.jpg

Figure 1: Title Page

The Heroes, or Greek Fairy Tales for My Children by Charles Kingsley was first published in 1855 at Christmas (Alderson 81). The version found at the Children’s Literature Archive was published in 1912, in Great Britain, by the Medici Society who subsequently reprinted it many times throughout the early 20th century. The Medici Society, founded in 1908, originally published works of art for the general public. Eventually, the company began publishing different items including children’s books (“A Short History of Medici”). The nine illustrations featured in this edition of The Heroes are prints of water-colour drawings by W. Russell Flint. Flint, a Scottish born painter, began his work as a medical illustrator and later shifted his focus towards illustrating story books, including this one (“About Sir William Russell Flint”). It is possible that the Medici Society, being interested in publishing artwork, published Kingsley’s The Heroes mainly for the sake of showcasing Flint’s illustrations. Although, arguably, both the illustrations and the text can be considered works of art. Bound with a simple green cover embossed with an image that also appears on its inside title page, this edition of Kingsley’s Heroes is simple in design (see figure 1). Yet, the quality of both Kingsley’s text and Flint’s illustrations make it a beautiful piece of work.