Friday, August 12, 2011

Fairy Tale Fridays - The Art

One of the things I've enjoyed since I started Fairy Tale Fridays is looking for the artwork to include in my posts. I've stuck to the traditional drawings, largely because I wasn't finding a lot of more modern interpretations. Thanks to my niece, I've discovered a page on Stumble! that features minimalist artwork for fairy tales. I'm liking these almost as much as my beloved Arthur Rackham works.

Rackham's work is so traditional, so appropriate to the feel of the fairy tales, that it seems that it must be hundreds of years old as well. But Rackham (9/9/1867 - 9/6/1939) didn't even begin studying art until 1885 and the works for which he is famous were not created until after the turn of the century. By that time, Rackham had developed his own technique, explaining why his pieces are so instantly recognizable.

Other well-known fairy tale artists are Maxfield Parrish, Gustave Dore, and Edmund Dulac. While Dore's works are literally and figuratively darker, Parrish and Dulac's works are all about color.

But Lisa, you as, were there no women illustrators? Why, yes there were; thank you for asking. Among the better known female illustrators of fairy tales are Margaret Ely Webb, Jessie M. King (a Scotswoman whose work was influenced by the Art Nouveau movement), Helen Stratton, Jennie Harbour, and Anne Anderson (whose work was a bit more stylized).

Jessie Wilcox Smith is, perhaps, the most famous of the female fairy tale illustrators.Smith, a contemporary of Rackham's, was as well known for her magazine covers as she was for her children's book illustrations and her illustrations for Charles Kingsley's The Water Babies (1916) are housed in the Library of Congress.

You may notice, if you should happen to click on all of these links, that all of these artists are deceased. There appear to be almost no modern fairy tale works to be found, making me even more happy to have found that page on Stumble! but, once again, I'm left wanting more. Let the research continue!


  1. Indeed let the research continue!
    especially if you are going to keep finding us such gems!

  2. Ok, so you write them, I'll illustrate them, and we'll start a new trend.

  3. It's so neat that you found these pictures! I like the first and second one very much, and am going to have to check out some of these links! Thanks!

  4. I really dig the top photo....these are very cool!!

  5. Hi Lisa,
    This is such an interesting topic you have blogged about. Thanks for all the links, I hadn't known about these artists before!