A bit late this week (albeit not as late as last week, when I posted at 00:00 on Sunday/Monday), but still here. 🙂
George Cruikshank was a British artist, most famous for his satirical illustrations of the contemporary society and for the drawings he made for Charles Dickens’s works. He was born in 1792 and died in 1878; seems to have led a rather boring life, sprinkled with the controversy that comes when you meddle with politics and make fun of people in high positions. Between 1850 and 1860 he also illustrated various fairy stories; I could not find a date for the painting below, so I’ll assume it dates from that specific decade. So, yeah, this is A Fairy Gathering
What can I say… sheer fantasy. Beautiful work, lovely attention to details, that propensity for the dainty and the diminutive that Tolkien talked about, together with the Victorian-style natural landscape. That, and a few surprising elements, such as the bats (or moths?), the questionable creature in the bottom left corner and, more interestingly, the top left corner of the painting. That’s a rather bold effect for a Victorian painting, I believe (but then again, my knowledge of art is… limited, to put it nicely). My favourite thing? The silhouettes on the moon.
Poem? A fragment of T. S. Eliot’s East Coker
In that open field
If you do not come too close, if you do not come too close,
On a summer midnight, you can hear the music
Of the weak pipe and the little drum
And see them dancing around the bonfire…
Round and round the fire
Leaping through the flames, or joined in circles,
Rustically solemn or in rustic laughter
Lifting heavy feet in clumsy shoes,
Earth feet, loam feet, lifted in country mirth
Mirth of those long since under earth
Nourishing the corn. Keeping time,
Keeping the rhythm in their dancing
As in their living in the living seasons
The time of the seasons and the constellations
The time of milking and the time of harvest
The time of the coupling of man and woman
And that of beasts. Feet rising and falling.
Eating and drinking. Dung and death.
And the music to go with it