December 19, 2016

Christmas Fairy Illustrations

No matter what you believe or don't believe spiritually, you might find enchantment in images of Christmas fairies and other magical beings. Fairies, elves, even angels, have provided rich opportunities for Christmas illustration over the years--even up to now.

But the Golden Age of Illustration, from around 1900 to 1940, provides the some of the most charming images. Print technology allowed for colors that managed to be both bold and luminous. Children's book illustration was exploding, as were illustrated magazines. The talent, technology and markets came together in a way that has never been equaled. There are amazing illustrations of fae and fairy tales in the 21st century, but the softness and colors of the Golden Age of Illustration are no longer in use, and, with different drawing techniques and technology, the look of fairy tale and fae illustration has inevitably changed.

Here, for your holiday enjoyment are some Christmas fae illustrations. I'm not sure of all the publishing information, but I've seen enough of this kind of illustration to know that these images are from the Golden Age. The first two are by Cicely Mary Barker, the last three are by unknown illustrators.

 

 
 

 

 

6 comments

  1. Wonderfully magical illustrations! I love them all. Thanks for sharing, Kate.

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  2. The gnome might end up being a story prompt for me. :D

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  3. Cicely Mary Barker is one of my favorite illustrators...I have one of her (very old) Flower Fairies of the Autumn books.

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  4. I adore the Cicely Mary Barker illustrations! Thank you for sharing! :)

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  5. Did you know that every single one of those fairies (and indeed her many other illustrations both of books and religious illustrations were of real children? They are the portraits of children from her sister Dorothy's kindergarden. She often painted both her dog and her mother into paintings too, as well as Dorothy, in her religious paintings. She also painted many murals in her local church on the walls, which include her family and neighbours. Gladys Tidy the little girl who cleaned their stove on Saturdays was the Narcissus fairy as well as for 5 others. When she grew up and married, and had a daughter of her own, that baby girl Cicely jused as the model for The Blackberry Fairy.

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  6. The third looks a bit like the Gumnut Babies, but maybe not quite...My favorite is the little guy with the cat:)

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