Flower Fairies and the Power of Nature - A Nostalgic Tribute

Flower Fairies and the Power of Nature - A Nostalgic Tribute

As I sit here to write this I can hear birds chattering very loudly and happily outside my window which must mean that Spring has sprung and yes I did spot some primroses outside too. 
The signs all around us and yet we don’t always notice them especially when the weather is a bit grim. 

Someone who did notice them though was the Flower Fairies author and illustrator Cicely M Barker. I always loved her books and I have always been absolutely fascinated by fairies. It makes sense to me that nature and fairies go hand in hand. I still have my childhood copies of these beautiful books and am as enchanted by them today as I was then. I think my interest in them came from stories my mum told me when I was little based around the flowers in the garden. She used to make them up on the spot and I was always entranced by them. 

The lovely thing about Barker’s poetry and illustrations is the way that the plants and the fairies are intertwined and the incredible accuracy in the illustrations. In fact you could use these drawings as a botanical guide to spotting the flowers in the wild, such is the careful attention to detail.  What a wonderful way of discovering plants that you would not otherwise be aware of.  

The fairies in Barker’s work tend to be charming and harmless  if slightly mischievous creatures but there is never a hint of the malevolence that is often seen in other works featuring the Fae. They are depicted as protectors of a natural world that is also their playground. Their childlike appearance is very much in keeping with how fairies have generally been perceived by the English since the Edwardian craze for all things fairy like.  Personally, I generally find cute interpretations of fairies a bit saccharine and unrealistic and prefer the darker, earthy depictions but I have never felt this about Barker’s illustrations perhaps because she is always so true to the idea of the fairies being an inseparable part of the natural world. 

Her work and its fascinating blend of romanticism and realism helps us escape from the trials and tribulations of modern day life whilst also teaching us so much about nature. What a wonderful legacy to leave. 












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