The thesis explores the artistic production of three artists, John William North (1842-1924), George John Pinwell (1842-1875) and Frederick Walker (1840-1875). It is particularly concerned to look in detail at their wood engravings in connection with the 1860s periodical and Gift Book phenomenon which occurred a dozen years after the arrival of the Pre-Raphaelite artists in 1848 on the London art scene. The group awoke a regular critical response to Art in national newspapers, so that by the time that North, Pinwell and Walker were working in the graphic arena of wood engraving, they too fell under the scrutiny of critical observation which followed them particularly as they became artists. They were posthumously connected with Idyllism in a way that conflicts with their living reputation as realists and this thesis sets out to review their work and find explanations for this inconsistency. This thesis, in addition, provides as full a catalogue of the artists' illustration medium as can be assembled at this date. It contextualizes this catalogue with six chapters, beginning with an introduction that sets out the sources and reasons for their posthumous reputation as The Idyllists. Chapter 2 provides biographical and environmental information, followed by a chapter on the London wood engraving environment. Chapters 4 and 5 trace their work in magazines and then in books and finally, Chapter 6 uses the work they produced in Somerset as a focused examination of their differing responses to the same location. The thesis proposes that the graphic production of all three artists is no mere prelude to their work in watercolour and/or oils and needs to be examined in greater depth than has hitherto been the case.

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