|One of the famous Cottingly Fairy photos - this one shows a gnome.|
|Sir Arthur Conan Doyle|
Fairies were a common part of legends and folklore of the Middle Ages before they ever began showing up (complete with wings) in Victorian illustration and children's stories. One explanation of the origin of fairies appears in a chapter about Peter Pan in J. M. Barrie's 1902 novel, The Little White Bird, and was incorporated into his later works about the character. Barrie wrote,
"When the first baby laughed for the first time, his laugh broke into a million pieces, and they all went skipping about. That was the beginning of fairies."
|Peter's Friends by Margaret Tarrant|
Many books have brought fairy stories to life. Edmund Spencer, Shakespeare, The Brothers Grimm, and J.M. Barrie were well-know authors who helped popularize fairies with their writings; but the author/illustrator who probably contributed the most fairy books and fairy illustrations for young children was Cicely Mary Barker (June 1895 – February 1973).
Barker, a British illustrator and poet, who was a favorite of Queen Mary, wrote a series of eight FLOWER FAIRY books, published from 1923 through 1948.
Cicely had epilepsy as a child and was educated at home.
During her lifetime the Titanic sank, World War I began, and fairies were gaining popularity.
J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan was published in 1906.
In 1915-16 Edmund Dulac's Fairy Book and Elves and Fairies (featuring illustrations by Ida Rentoul Outhwaite) was published, and fairies suddenly became a trend with Queen Mary.
In 1917 the "Cottingly Fairies" were photographed, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote The Coming of Fairies (which included the photos) in 1922.
CLICK HERE to see the list and images of all Cicely Mary Barker's flower fairies - delightful!
AND HERE to see cute Flower Fairy Fabric!
Want to make a FAIRY GARDEN? Check out the pictures from this blog for some beautiful ideas...
Are Fairies and Fairytales good for your children? Consider this quote by G.K. Chesterton:
"Not only can these fairy-tales be enjoyed because they are moral, but morality can be enjoyed because it puts us in fairyland, in a world at once of wonder and of war."
(Read the whole essay, from his book All Things Considered)
Growing up, I even learned some lessons from "FRACTURED FAIRYTALES" - are you old enough to remember the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show?
FAIRY PICTURE BOOKS:
THE COMPLETE BOOKS OF THE FLOWER FAIRIES, by Cicely Mary Barker.
A FLOWER FAIRY ALPHABET, by Cicely Mary Barker.
THE RUNAWAY FAIRY, by Molly Brett.
IF YOU SEE A FAIRY RING, by Susan Lockhart.
THE FLOWERS' FESTIVAL, by Elsa Beskow.
COME TO THE FAIRIES' BALL, by Jane Yolen, illustrations by Gary Lippincott.