Queen Mab (1870) by French artist, Gustave Doré

Queen Mab by French artist, Gustave Doré (1832-1883)

Queen Mab  [from Poems by Thomas Hood, 1870]  drawn by French artist, Gustave Doré (1832-1883). Engraved by W. Ridgway.

‘Queen Mab’ is a fairy mentioned in William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet (1597), where ‘she is the fairies’ midwife‘.

She is the fairies’ midwife, and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agate stone
On the forefinger of an alderman,
Drawn with a team of little atomi
Over men’s noses as they lie asleep.
Her wagon spokes made of long spinners’ legs,
The cover of the wings of grasshoppers,
Her traces of the smallest spider’s web,
Her collars of the moonshine’s watery beams,
Her whip of cricket’s bone, the lash of film,
Her wagoner a small gray-coated gnat,
Not half so big as a round little worm

Pricked from the lazy finger of a maid.


Queen Mab was a well-known fairy in Celtic (Irish) folklore for centuries before the great bard gave her a mention. But Shakespeare made her famous and thereafter other writers couldn’t resist tackling her.

‘Time to Get Up’ a rhyming story from the Rainbow Annual (1945)

Time to Get Up from the Rainbow Annual (1945)

Time to Get Up, a little rhyming story from the Rainbow Annual (1945).

Rainbow was a British comic. The 1930s was considered to be the “golden age” of British comics. After 6 years of war (1939-1945), I’m sure the 1945 annual was much read, loved and treasured.

 

 

Going, going … GONE! When is it acceptable to sell public art?

The Long Victorian - c.1789 - 1914

Going, going … GONE! When is it acceptable to sell public art? It’s happening more frequently than you might think. There was a time when I had assumed that once a work of art had been gifted or bought by a public art gallery, there it would stay (apart from loans and special exhibitions). Later I learned that galleries do sell art works in order to acquire others, thereby developing their collections. That sounds reasonable and responsible. But in the last few years I have noticed a disturbing trend, both in the UK and in the United States, to sell public art for other purposes – to help pay for running costs, for building extensions, to reduce debts and to develop endowments.

Painting The Somnambulist by Millais was sold

This might seem a dry subject, but it’s not so dry when specific paintings that you had hoped to see, turn out to have been flogged off to…

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An illustration by John R. Neill (1877-1943) for Treasure Island

An illustration by John R. Neill (1877-1943) from Treasure Island

A wonderful illustration by John R. Neill (1877-1943) for Treasure Island. Neill was a magazine and children’s book illustrator, mostly known for his ‘Land of Oz’ series (remember The Wonderful Wizard of Oz?).

Treasure Island is a classic adventure novel by Scottish author, Robert Louis Stevenson. It was first published in 1881, but set in the mid 1700s (a few decades before the setting of Winston Graham’s Poldark novels). It’s one of those books that used to be described as a ‘thumping good yarn’ – now publishers would probably call it ‘an engaging page-turner’.

Adventure on the high seas and a quest for pirate treasure, with colourful characters in an exotic setting. What more could you ask for?

 

 

 

An illustration (1916) by Frank C. Papé from The Russian Story Book

Illustration (1916) by Frank C. Papé (1878-1972) from The Russian Story Book

An extraordinary illustration (1916) by Frank C. Papé (1878-1972) from The Russian Story Book [author, Richard Wilson]

A book that might be classified under the fairy tale/folklore heading. I won’t try and guess exactly what is going on – but those birds look hungry.

Some of the books that had a heavy contribution from Frank Papé.

  • The Gateway to Spenser – Stories from the Faërie Queen (1910);
  • The Pilgrim’s Progress (1910);
  • The Golden Fairy Book (1911);
  • The Ruby Fairy Book (1911);
  • The Diamond Fairy Book (1911);
  • Sigurd and Gudrun (1912);
  • Siegfried and Kriemhild (1912);
  • The Book of Psalms (1912);
  • As It Is In Heaven (1912);
  • The Story Without an End (1913);
  • Robin Hood and Other Stories of Yorkshire (1915); and
  • The Russian Story Book (1916).

The spirit told Joseph that he must take the Grail to a distant country, called West-Over-The-Sea … and on to Glastonbury

Illustration from Stories Of King Arthur [Retold by Blanche Winder1968

Taken from Stories Of King Arthur [Retold by Blanche Winder, 1968]. Illustration by Harry G. Theaker.

One day as he worked in his garden, Joseph of Arimathea was visited by a beautiful Spirit, who told him he must take the Holy Grail to a distant country, called West-Over-The-Sea, (Britain) to a place called Glastonbury.