Arthur Rackham

Arthur Rackham

Arthur Rackham, born 1867 was one of 12 children. He was sent to Australia to improve his health at the age of 17, and at 18 he began working part time and studying at the Lambert School of Art. In 1892, he began working as an illustrator for the Westminster budget. He began illustrating for works such as The Ingoldsby Legends, Gulliver’s Travels and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm. He was originally known for his black and white images, however ones his color palettes were published, he gained much of his publicity as an illustrator.

I like Rackhams art. I think the illustrations as similar to cartoons give an inviting and open feel to them. Rackham has a vision of fairy tales that I feel most people tend to have. They are childish on the outside but when reading them, it is apparent that there are greater meanings in these fairy tales than a children can see. His illustration of Little Red Riding Hood portrays this. It represents the fear the little girl has, but also her innocence in being so willing to accept her grandmother, even if she knows something is wrong. The detail in his art is so captivating and would pair well while reading a fairy tale.

Image result for arthur rackham illustrations of fairytales

Image result for arthur rackham illustrations of fairytales

Image result for arthur rackham illustrations of fairytales

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Illustrator Gustave Dore

The prodigy artist Gustave Dore was born in Strasbourg, France in the 1830’s. His youngest childhood drawings allowed him to begin carving by the time he had reached his tenth birthday. As a teenager, he gained professional art experience working as an engraver and comic drawer for local patrons and newspaper companies. He illustrated for many renowned writers such as Lord Byron, Cervantes, and Poe. He lived his fifty-one year life with his mother and father, for he never married.

Since he engraved a majority of his works, they are most commonly presented in grey scale. It is unusual to see a work of color from Dore. He commonly did work on biblical scenes such as the one below entitled “Paradise Lost,” which represents the expulsion of Adam from paradise after his evil sin. The second is his rendering of the raven from Edgar Allen Poe. Noting the extensive detail in his works, they are appealing to readers as they enhance our understanding of the content.


Image result for gustave dore


Image result for gustave dore



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Kay Nielsen

Kay Nielsen was a Danish illustrator that was born on March 12th, 1886 in Copenhagen to a very artistic family. Both of Nielsen’s parents were famous actors of their time and this allowed for Nielsen to become interested in the area of art. He studied art in Paris and later received his first English commission to illustrate a collection of fairytales form Hodder and Stoughton.  Later that year he received another commission to create illustrations for Charles Perrault’s fairytales including Sleeping Beauty, Puss in Boots, Cinderella and Bluebeard. Kay Nielsen became incredibly popular in the early twentieth century as a key artist in the Golden Age of Illustrations. He is also most known for his collaborations with Disney, for whom he contributed many sketches and illustrations.

The two images below are some of Kay Nielsen’s famous pieces. The one on the left is an illustration for Cinderella and the one of the right was created for a Thousand and One Nights. I think that Kay Nielsen has a very specific artistic style that is very distinct from other artists. The Cinderella illustration has a very strange/indie feel to it and not exactly what you would initially picture the classic fairytale to be depicted as. However, I do like the designs that he uses on the dresses and the use of white throughout the piece. The other image, for a Thousand and One Nights, I feel represents the fairytale perfectly with the colors used and the Arabian designs around the main focus. I like how he depicted the characters of the story to clearly show the disgusting power that the man holds over the girl but I wish he could have displayed the girls cleverness in his illustrations. These two images were seen constantly throughout the early twentieth century and are still seen in a variety of ways today.


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Edward Burne-Jones

Edward Burne-Jones was born in 1833 in Birmingham, England.  His mother died in labor and as a result, he struggled financially his whole childhood.  Despite this financial hardship, he attended school at Oxford which is where he decided to pursue a career as an artist. He was influenced highly by the works of Pre-Raphaelites: Millais, Ford Madox Brown, Holman Hunt, and Rossetti.  His works influenced the end of this period shifting from realism to more stylized images.

His personal life was tumultuous as a young man. At the age of 27, he married Georgie Macdonald. She was well-liked by all of the new friends he met in his then increasing success but this did not stop Jones from falling for Maria Zambaco. His affair was a large strain on his marriage but he did ultimately reunite with his wife.  After this period, he became much more socially involved and seemed to mostly agree with his wife’s opinions. Notably, he became a well-established socialist in the political sphere.

He completed many series of paintings; the most relevant to our class was the four-part series entitled, ” The Briar Rose”.  The pieces included below, depict the kingdom asleep under the one hundred year curse.  The topmost picture is titled “The Briar Wood”. It shows the princes who were caught and killed by the thorns of the bramble. The next picture is titled “The Garden Court” which shows the ladies of the court asleep in the garden. “The Council Chamber”, shows the King and Queen asleep on their thrones as the other members of the royal party have fallen to the floor.  The last picture is “The Rose Bower” and depicts sleeping beauty asleep on a bed with what is assumedly her ladies in waiting around her.  I personally like Jones’s stylized figures and appreciate how these pictures ring more true to the Grimm version of the tale.  Personally, the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty is how I tend to think of the tale. Seeing images more true to the story we read in class is interesting and provides me with a better image of that story.

 Source Urls:

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Illustrators-Edmund Dulac

Edmund Dulac is a French and British illustrator. Most of his artwork can be found in magazines, books and on stamps. He was born in 1882 and originally studied law before going to École des Beaux-Arts (National School for Fine Arts) for art. After moving to Great Britain Dulac began two partnerships. Leicester Gallery commissioned his illustrations, which were sold in their exhibits and Hodder and Stoughton published them in books, one every year. It is through this that Dulac began illustrating fairy tales like The Arabian Nights (1907) and Sleeping Beauty and Other Fairy Tales (1910). He later helped design the stamps for the reigns of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II. Dulac died in May of 1953 of a heart attack at 70 years old.

Queen of the Ebony Isles- The Arabian Nights

In the above picture I think Dulac captures the idea of Arabian people but also misses lots of Arabia itself. The women is very well done and displays dress ware common of the area of which she comes from. What I wish he would have incorporated was more of a background. The orange makes the woman stand out as was likely his intention but even something small behind her would have made the picture more interesting and grab people’s attention more.

She Saved The Prince

I think the above picture has great detail and perfectly fits the idea of the Little Mermaid. The sea has a lot of detail which makes it is clear that the prince (who appears unconscious) is in need of saving. As well the headpiece on the girl’s (who represents the little mermaid) head separates her from him. This showcases the difference in gender as well as the fact that she may be a different creature. I think it would be interesting if Dulac had shown a part of her tail lifted somewhere in the water rather than just from her shoulders up. It would have further added to the idea of a mermaid in the water.

Stamp of King George VI 1937

I think the above stamp is interesting. It quite different from American stamps, as many of them as just the American flag. The color green is also an interesting choice and I wonder why it was chosen when green is not on the British flag. I think the side profile is a good option and makes the king appear regal as he should. As well I wonder about Dulac’s choice to put the crown slightly above the king’s head rather than on it. Is it to show the monarchy itself, the image of it, is even above the king or was it just the way stamps were designed then?

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Illustrating fairy tales

There are a myriad of visualizations of fairy tales, beyond the iconic movie images from the Walt Disney studios.  Exploring how image captures story–or a moment in the story–invites the reader/viewer to situate themselves within.


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Nazi Germany and Red Riding Hood

I said in class today I would post the links to the article and podcast regarding the Nazi’s propagandized version of the fairy tales.

Telegraph Article – Nazi fairy tales paint Hitler as Little Red Riding Hood’s saviour

BBC – Grimm Thoughts with Maria Warner

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Cinderella- the eternal desire to be other

Cinderella from DisneyThis week’s project we are going to take a look at some modern day renderings of the Cinderella story.  I invite each of you find a movie that mimics the story but with, of course a twist. Post a trailer or section of a video here for us to comment upon!

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Mapping Fairy Tales

Atlas Obscura, one of my favorite drop-in sites, has a post on a wonderful map about fairy tale people.  Visit their site for more details.

The Land of Make Believe by Jaro Hess. (All photos courtesy of DAVID RUMSEY MAP COLLECTION)

The Land of Make Believe by Jaro Hess. (All photos courtesy of DAVID RUMSEY MAP COLLECTION)

Where might you set a fairy tale in a present day location?

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Lindsey and Anthony

     Once upon a time, there was an old wizard who lived on the outskirts of a distant kingdom. For years, he secretly practiced all kinds of magic without the rest of the kingdom knowing. He would cast spells, create potions, and enchant all sorts of objects. The wizard never got out much, but he loved testing his magic in the woods surrounding his home. It wasn’t very big, but it was filled with wonder. There was a cobblestone tower full of spell books and scrolls, stained glass windows, and a large wooden door in the front. Outside the house, there were vines growing on the walls, terra-cotta flower pots, and large pine trees concealing it from the rest of the world. The wizard knew that if anyone would get hold of his magic, it could be used to create or destroy anything. He couldn’t risk letting anyone know about his power so he hid himself in a place where no one would ever find him. 


     One day, the wizard discovered a new potion in one of his spell books. It was one he had never tested before, and was said to have the ability to illuminate objects. Intrigued, he crafted the potion and went outside to experiment on two flowers. As expected, both flowers glowed in broad daylight; however, the wizard wasn’t completely satisfied. He took the remainder of the potion and mixed it with a strength potion he had lying around. He took a third flower, and tested the new concoction on it. While the other flowers just glowed, the third became a bright orange color and doubled in size. It was nothing like he had ever seen before. He wondered if the flower would continue to grow or if the magic would slip away in a few hours, losing its shine. He decided to leave it out overnight, rather than bringing it indoors like he usually did, in case it grew at an exponential rate and devoured his house. 


      Later that night, the king sent out his guards on a surveillance mission throughout the kingdom. The king made sure he knew what was going on at all times to prevent any challenges to his throne. He loved his power and would go to any and all extremes to protect it. Four years earlier, his father – the former king – passed away, and his older brother was to ascend the throne. As his brother’s coronation was about to take place, he assassinated the soon-to-be king and took the throne for himself. As the years went by, he managed to extinguish all challenges, but was still always on the lookout. As the guards were surveying that night, a tree collapsed onto the bridge to the village, ultimately blocking their path. They knew that a failed mission would furiate the king, so they took a trek through the woods in hopes of finding an alternative route. After an hour of searching, the guards got lost, but decided to keep going. They were unfamiliar with the area, but knew they couldn’t be too far from the kingdom by the recognition of large pine trees. All of a sudden, they saw a bright orange glow straight ahead. They looked at each other in confusion, but wanted to further investigate. Maybe they would have news for the king after all! As they approached the glow, they stumbled upon the wizard’s orange flower, which by now had doubled in size once more. The guards were astonished and thought they should bring it back to the king. They attempted to chop it down, but it’s stem was too strong or the guards. The sound of their failed attempts awakened the wizard, who then ran to his window to see what was happening. He’d never had visitors before. With the glance of the royal colors below, he knew it had to be the king’s men outside. He started to panic, but decided to stay hidden. He could always recreate his experiment, but his magic was far more powerful and had to be protected. 


     The guards, now frustrated by their failure, knew that the king had to hear about the flower. Something this strong couldn’t go unnoticed. They left the woods, and returned back to the castle, where they informed the king of their discovery. Upon hearing the news, the king was outraged. The thought of a flower being more powerful than he was made him angrier than ever before – he was not going to be made a fool. The king ordered his guards to go out into the woods once again to seize the flower. If it could not be cut down, it was to be dug up. While this was occurring, the wizard finally came out of hiding. What could the king’s guards possibly want with him? This thought stirred him into a panic. It had to be his magic. That night, the wizard barricaded his door and left the flower outside. As long as his magic was safe, his flower could be taken.


     The following day, the guards went back into the woods and found the orange flower once again. They tried to take it down, but failed like before. From inside, the wizard overheard the guards planning on how they would get the flower to the king. His fears were now confirmed. Someone – the king – was trying to get ahold of his magic. This was dangerous. The guards left the woods again, alarming the wizard. He knew he needed to take more precaution. 


     Within one week, the guards never returned back to the woods, causing the wizard to believe it was safe to go back out and practice his magic like once before. After a few hours of uninterrupted experimenting, the wizard suddenly felt a strong gust of wind and heard the sound of large flapping wings in the distance. At first he thought nothing of it, but when a dragon appeared he was alarmed. It wasn’t even the dragon itself that alarmed him, but rather the small figure on the back. The king was now outside of his home. The wizard didn’t know what to do. This was the first time he was spotted practicing magic in the last 60 years. He had put both himself and his secrets in grave danger. Seizing the flower was no longer the king’s mission; the old wizard was now his target. 


      In a cloud of smoke, the Wizard disappeared, retreating to his personal library of all-powerful spells.  If he was to fell a dragon, he would need to draw upon the knowledge of the distant past. The king rode his beast in search of the stealthy wizard, and burned a path in the forest until he arrived at the spellcaster’s aged home.  He lowered his elevation significantly, until the dragon’s head was level with one of the windows. It peered in, scanning the room for anything magical – and what a discovery. In the room was bookshelf after bookshelf, stuffed full of ancient spellbooks and scrolls. With all that knowledge, the king would be unstoppable.  Just then, however, the old wizard appeared among the shelves. With a look of fury on his face and an outstretched hand, he cast his spell. A blinding light eminated from his body, first filling the room, and then covering the tower and engulfing the king and his dragon, who were desperatelytrying to fly away. When the light faded, all that remained was a clear patch of grass in the middle of the woods. 


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