Randolph Caldecott (1846-1886), English artist and illustrator, was born at Chester on the 22nd of March 1846. From 1861 to 1872 he was a bank clerk, first at Whitchurch in Shropshire, afterwards at Manchester; but devoted all his spare time to the cultivation of a remarkable artistic faculty. In 1872 he migrated to London, became a student at the Slade School and finally adopted the artist's profession. He gained immediately a wide reputation as a prolific and original illustrator, gifted with a genial, humorous faculty, and he succeeded also, though in less degree, as a painter and sculptor. His health gave way in 1876, and after prolonged suffering he died in Florida on the 12th of February 1886. His chief book illustrations are as follows: - Old Christmas (1876) and Bracebridge Hall (1877), both by Washington Irving; North Italian Folk (1877), by Mrs Comyns Carr; The Harz Mountains (1883); Breton Folk (1879), by Henry Blackburn; picture-books (John Gilpin, The House that Jack Built, and other children's favourites) from 1878 onwards; Some Aesop's Fables with Modern Instances, etc. (1883). He held a roving commission for the Graphic, and was an occasional contributor to Punch. He was a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water-colours.
See Henry Blackburn, Randolph Caldecott, Personal Memoir of his Early Life (London, 1886).