Divine and Moral Songs
Georgie Cave (later Gaskin), Divine and Moral Songs Cover


Divine and Moral Songs
by the Rev. Isaac Watts, illustrated by Mrs. Arthur Gaskin
(Elkin Matthews, 1901) 

In 1890s England, advances in printing technology gave smaller publishers and female illustrators, such as Georgie Gaskin, the opportunity to publish lavishly illustrated books. The introduction of colour printing from wood blocks in the 1880s marked a move away from the heavy engravings that had characterised book illustration for many decades.

Divine and Moral Songs, originally written by the Reverend Isaac Watts in 1715, had been a ‘standard’ children’s book since its first publication, and was said to surpass all other religious manuals for young families both in terms of popularity and longevity. Illustrations accompanying Watts’ work until the 1880s were typically heavy, sombre engravings; Gaskin’s style and use of colour offered a refreshing change, providing pleasing images of angelic, well-dressed young children receptive to religious teaching. The Bookseller magazine commented on Gaskin’s illustrated edition of Divine and Moral Songs: ‘we have rarely […] come across such a dainty and delicate edition of this old and popular children’s favourite’.

Caption by Ruth Horsburgh

Associated Place(s)

Timeline of Events Associated with Divine and Moral Songs


  • Georgie Gaskin

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