Charles George Harper

Charles George Harper (1863 1943) was an English author and illustrator. Born in London, England, Harper wrote many self-illustrated travel books, exploring the regions, roads, coastlines, literary connections, old inns etc. of Britain. In later life, he lived in Petersham.

Charles George Harper
Charles George Harper
Sketch magazine, 30th Sep 1896
Known forSelf-illustrated travel books
StylePen drawing

Aside from the some 170 topographical works, he also wrote a few books on drawing and its techniques, including English Pen Artists of To-day (1892) and A Practical Handbook of Drawing for Modern Methods of Reproduction (1894), as well as an anti-feminist polemic, Revolted Woman; past, present, and to come (1894), and a satirical novel, Hearts Do Not Break: a Tale of the Lower Slopes (1896), attacking logrolling among the London literary set.

Critical assessment

R. E. D. Sketchley’s English book-illustration of to-day (1903) characterised Harper’s travel books as “… written and drawn with spirited observation. His drawing is not so picturesque as his writing. It has reticence and justness of expression that would not serve in relating tales of the road, but which, together with a sense of colour and of what is pictorial, combine to form an effective and frequently distinctive style of illustration”.

N. W. Webster’s article The English traveller (1974) describes him as “more a capable draughtsman than a creative artist, although his books would lose much without his delightful sketches”.

Published works (selected)

Further reading

  • Sketchley, R. E. D. English book-illustration of to-day (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner and co., 1903), pp 47–48.
  • Webster, N. W. The English traveller: Charles G. Harper, 1863-1943 (Antiquarian Book Monthly Review, issue 16, 1974).
  • Charles Baker. British book illustrators 1860 1900 - A bibliography (Birmingham bookshop, 1978).


  1. "Review of The Marches of Wales by Charles G. Harper". The Athenaeum (3525): 634. 18 May 1895.
  2. "Review of The Old Inns of Old England by Charles G. Harper". The Athenaeum (4130): 794–795. 22 December 1906.
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