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An illustration is a rendition (that could be presented as a drawing, painting, photograph or other work of art) that is created to elucidate or dictate sensual information (such as a story, poem or newspaper article). Early history The earliest illustrations were prehistoric cave paintings. Before the invention of the printing press, books, such as Medieval illuminated manuscripts, were hand-illustrated. Illustration has been used in China and Japan since the 8th century, traditionally by creating woodcuts to accompany writing.[citation needed] 15th century through 18th century During the 15th century, books illustrated with woodcut illustrations became available. The main processes used for reproduction of illustrations during the 16th and 17th centuries were engraving and etching. At the end of the 18th century, lithography allowed even better illustrations to be reproduced. The most notable illustrator of this epoch was William Blake who rendered his illustrations in the medium of relief etching. Notable figures of the early century were John Leech, George Cruikshank, Dickens' illustrator Hablot Knight Browne and, in France, Honor Daumier. The same illustrators contributed to satirical and straight-fiction magazines, but in both cases the demand was for character-drawing that encapsulated or caricatured social types and classes. The British humorous magazine Punch, which was founded in 1841 riding on the earlier success of Cruikshank's Comic Almanac (18271840), employed an uninterrupted run of high-quality comic illustrators, including Sir John Tenniel, the Dalziel Brothers and Georges du Maurier, into the 20th century. It chronicles the gradual shift in popular illustration from reliance on caricature to sophisticated topical observations. These artists all trained as conventional fine-artists, but achieved their reputations primarily as illustrators. Punch and similar magazines such as the Parisian Le Voleur realised that good illustrations sold as many copies as written content. Walter Ratterman, oil on Canvas, ca1927, Woman at a piano in elegant interior. Illustration for Good Housekeeping magazine. Golden age of illustration The American "golden age of illustration" lasted from the 1880s until shortly after World War I (although the active career of several later "golden age" illustrators went on for another few decades). As in Europe a few decades earlier, newspapers, mass market magazines, and illustrated books had become the dominant media of public consumption. Improvements in printing technology freed illustrators to experiment with color and new rendering techniques. A small group of illustrators in this time became rich and famous. The imagery they created was a portrait of American aspirations of the time.