Charles Robinson was born on June 25th in 1870. His father was an illustrator and his grandfather was an engraver. Both of them were involved in the magazine and newspaper publishing business in London.
In those days, illustrators handed their work over to engravers who re-drew each illustration onto wood so it could be used with the metal type printing process. Robinson’s father illustrated with this engraving process in mind, knowing that his original art would never be seen as he had painted it.
Charles Robinson’s two brothers, Thomas Heath Robinson and William Heath Robinson, were very well-known illustrators in their day. Charles himself was apprenticed to a lithographer where he served a seven-year indenture, learning to transfer paintings to the lithographic stones. When he was 25, he illustrated his first full book, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Child’s Garden of Verses, published by John Lane at the Bodley Head.
He was elected to the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours in 1932. Many fairy tale and children’s books from the turn of the twentieth century through the 1930s feature his illustrations, including Andersen’s Fairy Tales, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and The Secret Garden. He died unexpectedly in 1937 at the age of 66.