When I heard that the Victoria and Albert Museum(V&A) , London, was exhibiting illustrations from British fairytales as well as illustrations from Beatrix Potter and Cicely Mary Barker, creator of the flower fairies, I just had to jump on a train and check it out.
I have been writing a children’s fairy in-between copywriting and marketing projects for the past two years and I am so close to finishing now. I am at the stage where I am thinking about illustrations, which will be a really important part of my book, and I have plenty of ideas it’s just finding the exact style that I want and either mastering the skill myself or finding an illustrator to do it for me that’s the major challenge.
A Fairyland of Flowers: Beatrix Potter and Cicely Mary Barker was a display small in size but large in enjoyment featuring illustrations by Cicely Mary Barker. Barker’s Flower Fairies were positioned next to Beatrix Potter’s sketches, another writer and artist who was fascinated by natural history, particularly the garden variety. It was wonderful to see the two side-by-side and observe how they both explored the world of imagination while remaining true to the likeness of flora and fauna in their work. This exhibit was especially exciting for me since Potter is a favourite author of mine and Barker’s Flower Fairies have inspired my own fairy story a great deal.
Another exhibition that tantalised that Chichester Copywriter’s tastebuds was Capturing the Imagination: British Fairy-tale Illustrations 1860-1940. This was a display featuring watercolours by artists of the Golden Age of illustration, including Arthur Rackham and Edmund Dulac. These beautifully detailed drawings and paintings explore their imaginative responses to folk tales and fairyland.
‘We are all mad here’: Alice in popular culture was also well worth a look. Alice in Wonderland is another of my writing inspirations and I love how, like Shakespeare, some of Carroll’s written words have become part of our everyday language. This display revealed the ways in which Lewis Carroll’s fictional world of Alice has appeared again and again throughout our popular culture, art, literature, music and religion in this display of modern illustrated editions, graphic novels, comics and ephemera.
There were plenty of other exhibits that were of interest too including: Modern Masters: Matisse, Picasso, Dali and Warhol; David Watkins – Artist in Jewellery, a Retrospective View (1972 – 2010) and My Generation: The Glory Years of British Rock.
The day was finished true grace as I visited Grace Kelly: Style Icon. This was a display of the wardrobe of one of Hollywood’s finest, tracing the evolution of her style from 1950s film star to Princess Grace of Monaco. Over 50 of Grace’s dresses, by the likes of Dior and Yves Saint Laurent, as well as accompanying accessories, including the original Hermes Kelly bag, were accompanied by film clips and photos to complete the tale and what an amazing tale it was. You see, fairytales can happen in real life!
Here are some images, courtesy of the V&A, as well as some of my own photographs that have and will inspire my copywriting: