Monday, August 1, 2016

Cicely Mary Barker's Flower Faeries

  Flower Faeries, one of my favorite wee folk, are immortalized by 
English illustrator Cicely Mary Barker. Unable to go to school as a child because of her epilepsy, she was home-schooled and spent much of her time drawing and painting. 
She has been likened to Beatrix Potter for the amazing botanical accuracy of the 170 original illustrations of plants and flowers amidst which her fairies dwell.                                     
Miss Barker's art education began in girlhood with correspondence courses  and instruction at the Croydon School of Art. Her earliest professional work included greeting cards and juvenile magazine illustrations, and her first book, Flower Fairies of the Spring,
was published in 1923. Similar books were published in the following decades. 
   Miss Barker’s enchanting Flower Fairies images were based on real children from Cicely’s sister’s nursery school.                                                   

A devout Anglican, she donated her artworks to Christian fundraisers and missionary organizations, and produced a few Christian-themed books such as The Children’s Book of Hymns. Her painting,
 “Out of Great Tribulation” followed in 1949.

   In 1962, Barker designed a stained glass window for St Edmund’s, Pitlake, in memory of her sister, Dorothy. This church, no longer exists. Although it is known what this window looked like, it appears to have disappeared. Now, there is a good plot point for an upcoming book!

 Her painting of the Christ Child, The Darling of the World Has Come, was purchased by Queen Mary.

 Miss Barker claimed to paint instinctively and rejected artistic theories. She died in 1973, at the age of 77, and although she published Flower Fairy books with spring, summer, and autumn themes, it wasn't until 1985 that a winter collection was assembled from her remaining work and published posthumously.

 Whichever type of faerie strikes your fancy, keep an eye out for them this summer. You might even leave them a treat during the full moon. Just like us, they love to eat tasty snacks. And it tends to make them more benevolent and less mischievous.       

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting post. I sell vintage flower books, and love the work of Cicely Mary Barker and her flower fairy series! I have a few 1940s flower fairy books within my own collection and they are such sweet little books.