It appears that some (very few) people have actually become interested in this blog due to the fairy-related posts, so I’d like to apologize to these (very few) people for the nonsensical last posts and for not posting a fairy painting last week. I’m doing two this week to make up for it. (thrilling, eh?)
So. Arthur Rackham: one of the most important artists of the so-called Golden Age of illustrations, born in London in 1867, died of cancer in 1939 in Surrey. Started drawing at a very young age and illustrated a book for Anthony Hope, in 1894: this moment would prove to be a turning point for him, as book illustrating remained the main field of his activity until the end of his life. His ‘portfolio’ includes Gulliver’s Travels, Alice in Wonderland, A Christmas Carol, The Tempest, Peer Gynt, The Wind in the Willows, Poe’s Tales of Mystery & Imagination and Andersen’s Fairy Tales. Quite impressive.
He had a very original technique in his art, sketching the drawing with a fine pencil, then retracing everything in pen and India ink and subsequently erasing any pencil marks. This led to a beautiful, surprisingly realistic effect, which you can see well enough in the painting I’ve chosen.
Part of the illustrations of J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, the painting appears not to have an ‘official’ name, but I’ve most often found it referenced to as Exquisite Fairy Dancing (1912).
I think it is my favourite of the paintings I’ve posted until now. Its lines are so graceful and beautiful, and it has an ethereal quality to it. It also captures this fascinating connection between the fairies and the natural world. I loved how the spider web looks like those safety nets that acrobats have, as if the painter was showing that nature protects, in a way, its supernatural inhabitants.
And today’s quotes and music:
When a new baby laughs for the first time a new fairy is born, and as there are always new babies there are always new fairies. They live in nests on the tops of trees; and the mauve ones are boys and the white ones are girls, and the blue ones are just little sillies who are not sure what they are.
-a rather intriguing excerpt of Peter and Wendy, J. M. Barrie
They hold their great balls in the open air, in what is called a fairy-ring. For weeks afterward you can see the ring on the grass. It is not there when they begin, but they make it by waltzing round and round. Sometimes you will find mushrooms inside the ring, and these are fairy chairs that the servants have forgotten to clear away. The chairs and the rings are the only tell-tale marks these little people leave behind them, and they would remove even these were they not so fond of dancing that they toe it till the very moment of the opening of the gates.
–Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, J. M. Barrie
And James Newton Howard with yet another magical piece