C. E. Brock

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Title page of Brock's edition of Emma, 1909

Charles Edmund Brock (5 February 1870 – 28 February 1938) was a widely published English line artist and book illustrator, who signed his work C. E. Brock. He was the eldest of four artist brothers, including Henry Matthew Brock, also an illustrator.


Brock was born on 5 February 1870 in Holloway, London. The family later settled in Cambridge. He studied art briefly under sculptor Henry Wiles.[1]

He received his first book commission at the age of 20 in 1890. He became very successful, and illustrated books for authors such as Jonathan Swift, William Thackeray, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and George Eliot. Brock also contributed pieces to several magazines such as The Quiver, The Strand, and Pearsons.[2] He used the Cambridge college libraries for his "picture research."[2] Brock is best known for his line work, initially working in the tradition of Hugh Thomson, but he was also a skilled colourist.

He and his brothers maintained a Cambridge studio filled with various curios, antiques, furniture, and a costume collection. They owned a large collection of Regency era costume prints and fashion plates, and had clothes specially made as examples for certain costumes.[2] Using these, family members would model for each other.

Brock did not publish any more work after 1910.[2] He died on 28 February 1938 in Cambridge.


The approach of C.E. Brock's work varied with the sort of story he was illustrating. Some was refined and described as "sensitive to the delicate, teacup-and-saucer primness and feminine outlook of the early Victorian novelists," while other work was "appreciative of the healthy, boisterous, thoroughly English characters" – soldiers, rustics, and "horsey types."[3] Other illustrations were grotesqueries drawn to amuse children looking at or reading storybooks.

Not so cosy, she answered.jpg
I want your advice, Simon.jpg
An unconscious cab-driver.jpg


  1. ^ Dalby, Richard (1991), The Golden Age of Children's Book Illustration, Gallery Books 
  2. ^ a b c d Houfe, Simon (1981). The Dictionary of British Book Illustrators and Caricaturists, 1800–1914. Suffolk: Antique Collectors' Club Ltd. pp. 195–196. ISBN 0902028731. 
  3. ^ Bradshaw, Percy V (nd (pre-1938)), The Art of the Illustrator: CE Brock & His Work, Press Art School  Check date values in: |date= (help)

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