The art of Patten Wilson, 1868–1928


The Four Seasons (1897).

Typically gorgeous work from the unjustly neglected Victorian illustrator. There’s more scans of the Coleridge illustrations (shown below) at Dr Chris Mullen’s excellent Visual Telling of Stories site.


Coleridge (1898).


The Rime of the Ancient Mariner: “Beyond the shadow of the ship,
I watched the water snakes.”


Kubla Khan: “In Xanadu did Kubla Khan / A stately pleasure-dome decree.”

See also:
Best Stories to Tell to Children by Sara Cone Bryant
(illustrated by Patten Wilson)

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The illustrators archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
T&H: At the Sign of the Dolphin
Alla Nazimova’s Salomé
Austin Osman Spare

20 thoughts on “The art of Patten Wilson, 1868–1928”

  1. These are glorious! I can’t believe I’ve never seen his work before. What a delicious alternative to Rackham, Dulac or even Mucha. Thank you for this gem :)

  2. I took a risk. I believe this is my Grandfather. I have two of his books inherited
    from is daughter Joan Patten Wilson (married name Mead). The book dedicated
    to his wife and daughter is is a translation of Homer’s Odyssey by H.B. Cotterill MA
    and illustrated with 24 illustrations by Patten Wilson. Where can see more ?

    He had two brothers Henry Wilson who worked as a Sculptor mainly Bronze, although
    I am givento believe he was also a silversmith, and Edgar Wilson
    who was in business.

    Perhaps you could provide me with further info.


    Sonia Hand.

  3. Hi Sonia.

    I wish I could offer more information but Wilson’s work has been sorely neglected, even in fairly thorough appraisals of Victorian illustration. Google Print reveals that he has an entry in The Dictionary of 19th Century British Book Illustrators and Caricaturists by Simon Houfe but I’m not sure whether that’s in print at the moment. However, is a great resource for secondhand books so that might be the place to look. You might also find reprints of his illustrated editions through abe as well.

  4. John:

    Thank you very much for your prompt reply.

    I have located through one of the site you suggested the Lang book on Coleridge
    with my grandfather’s illustrations. Hollett and Son in Cumbria.

    We found a couple of posters on another web site. Patten Wilson’s first wife
    (if they did in fact marry) had titian coloured hair and she was probably his model
    (or muse as they say today). We recognised my mother’s profile.

  5. My Grandmother Ethel Florence Fischer was married to .Patten Wilson until his death in 1928. My mother Ethel Facey grew up with Joan Patten Wilson prior to her marriage. I am familiar with a number of the childrens books and from time to time I have collected a number of beautiful books from visits to Hay which is close to where I live . I was also able to get information from the Dictionary of 19 th century book illustrators by Antique Collectors Club. An article in The Artist of Jan 1898 was also very helpful in setting out PWs early works.As you will gather from this this I am an keen student and admirer of Patten Wilsons work and would like to find more .

  6. bonjour,
    je recherche toute information sur le peintre Patten WILSON 1868/1928 peu connu sur le marché de l’art en France mais tres attractif, notamment pour ses paysages de Bretagne et ses peintures orientalistes. une biographie a t elle été réalisée?

    I should like have all information on this painter of french britain country and also orinetalist in morocco algeria egypt and tunisia.
    i hope that may be you can give me an answer and also if his compositions can be seen in mluseuem of UK. or others places.

  7. Thank you for the information on Patten Wilson. An alphabet font by him is included in “Alphabets Old & New” by Lewis F. Day (third edition, 1910), p. 218. This font is used for the Burrows Studio line of Arts & Crafts wallpapers (contemporary reprints).

  8. A great thread on an unjustly neglected illustrator. Last week I chanced upon a very fine edition of the Coleridge book. The illustrations are delightful.

    Can anyone recommend other books where PW was the illustrator?

    Many thanks in advance.


  9. Hi Vance,

    I’d recommend searching for Patten Wilson at That brings up a lot of titles although I wouldn’t know which are the best to go for. Maybe The Persian Tapestry by Violet King? I’ve seen a fine illustration of Wilson’s in the past which I think may be from that book

  10. Abebooks makes it easy to search for things sometimes. Thanks to the listing there I’ve discovered one of the titles, Boys Who Became Famous, is a free download on Unfortunately there aren’t many illustrations and they’re not as distinguished as the ones on this page.

  11. I have just purchased a book (through Abe books) the frontispiece which is illustrated by Patten Wilson. It is one of a set of seven by Violet King:

    The City of Enchantment (Monday’s Child)
    The Persian Tapestry (Tuesday’s Child)
    The Island of Shadows (Wednesday’s Child)
    The Touching Stone (Thursday’s Child)
    Peggy’s Adventure (Friday’s Child)
    The Phantom Ships (Saturday’s Child)
    Woods Where Stories Grow (Sunday’s Child)

    I have been unable to find any information on Violet King, and am fascinated to find that Patten Wilson’s work is rare.

  12. Just a little information I have gathered quite by accident on Patten Wilson. I am studying a (female) writer named George Egerton with whom he corresponded from 1897-1900. In these letters he refers to ’10 King John drawings’ he did for Longman’s in 1899, and in 1900 he writes of illustrations he has done for an edition of Shakespeare by Constables and for the Shaving of Shagpeat by George Meredith. He also mentions in a letter dated February 22, 1900, that he is ‘engaged to a little Southsea fire named Alice Harding’, if that information is of any use to anyone.

  13. By the way, in this archive (the Selected Papers of Mary Chavelita Bright at Princeton University Library), there are two or three original sketches of Wilson’s.

  14. Thanks Whitney. As you can see, people still stop here in search of information so I’m sure that will be useful to someone.

  15. Hello John,
    I found this site by accident. It’s exciting because I wondered about the whereabouts of Sonia Mead Hand and my searches have not been successful.

  16. John,
    I think my previous message was sent prematurely. I wanted to say that Sonia is my first cousin and I don’t know where she is. I would certainly like to contact her. Her mother, Joan is the sister of my father, Aldred Patten Wilson. The last time I saw Sonia was 1949 in Sanderstead. I would appreciate it if you would give her this information.
    E.P. Wilson
    P.S. I have lots of information about the Wilsons including a family tree prepared by Edgar.

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