Friday, January 23, 2015

Margaret Tarrant, Illustrating the Wonders of Childhood

Illustrator Margaret Tarrant (1888-1959), of London, was nearly a child herself when she illustrated Water Babies at the age of 20. She illustrated children's books in the late 1800s and early 1900s. I want to dive into her soft pastel sea world in this illustration from Water Babies. 

She truly captured the wonder of childhood. This illustration of a little girl smelling the flowers is captivating with a touch of fantasy. Yet, it reveals how small children perceive a world where everything is bigger than they are. This illustration inspired one of my wool paintings. I could spend hours gazing at Margaret Tarrant's illustrations and gaining inspiration. 

Tarrant was prolific in illustrating the fairy world. I love everything about this Christmas card--the subdued and limited color palette, the cuteness of the little robin and that sweet expression on the little elf's face. Tarrant illustrated postcards and calendars for the Medici Society. 

Another triumph in pastels by Margaret Tarrant, Fairy Sea Horses. Truly inspiring.

Don't you want to go on the boat to fairyland?

Tarrant was also known for her religious illustrations of Jesus. I found it interesting that Margaret Tarrant was good friends with another Medici illustrator Molly Brett. They met at the Guildford School of Art. She went to live on Brett's estate when she was older. She was also a good friend to well-known fairy artist Cecily Mary Barker. 
One of the best biographies of Margaret Tarrant is on Mystical Myth.