Artist: Arthur Rackham (1867-1939)

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Mystery of Bernard Sleigh’s Fairyland Map

"An Anciente Mappe of Fairyland: Newly Discovered and Set Forth" by Bernard Sleigh, from 1918.
English artist Bernard Sleigh (1872-1954) was born in Birmingham, England. He began his art studies at age 14, when he was apprenticed to a wood engraver. He received his formal art education at the famed Birmingham School of Art. He specialized in illustration, painting murals, stained glass, in addition to wood engraving. Like his contemporary, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sleigh believed in fairies, and supported Doyle in his mystical endeavors and research.

Detail of the "Anciente Mappe of Fairyland" featuring the Great God Pan, Red Gnome Rock, and the Water Babies.
Included among his illustrated works are: “The Sea King’s Daughter & Other Poems” (1895) by Amy Mark; “Carols, Their Origin, Music and Connection with Mystery-Plays” (not dated) by William J. Phillips; “The Song of Songs” (1937) by Ernest Renan; and “The Immortal Hour” (1939) by Fiona McLeod. Sleigh also became a writer himself, and illustrated his own works, including the poem “A Faery Pageant” (1924); a book of fairy stories titled “The Gates of Horn” (1926); and “Witchcraft” (1934).

Detail of the "Anciente Mappe of Fairyland" featuring Elfrain Cove, Tom Thumb, and Little Bo Peep.
Bernard Sleigh is probably best known for his work “An Anciente Mappe of Fairyland: Newly Discovered and Set Forth.”* Created in 1918, it is a beautifully crafted work of art and cartography. The magical map is even included in the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress labels the map as an “imaginary locality,” but we know they just have to say that because most mundane people sadly aren’t aware that fairies are real. (By the way, the U.S. National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration’s website has a page about mermaids, which I’ll write about at a later date).

Detail of the "Anciente Mappe of Fairyland" featuring Kelpie Bay and the Elfin Sound.
The map reveals Fairyland people and places such as: the Elfin Temple; Goblin Land; the Faerie Shrine; the castle from “La Belle et la Bête” (Beauty and the Beast); Rapunzel’s tower; Bogle’s Corner; the Elfrain Cove, and so much more! In addition to his “Anciente Mappe of Fairyland,” Sleigh also created a cloth map in 1920 titled “A Map of Fairyland,”* which is described as “a Rosebank fabric.” An image of this Fairyland map is also on file in the Library of Congress. 

Bernard Sleigh's 1920 cloth "Map of Fairyland.
Now, what cause would the Library of Congress of the United States have to keep in its records two maps of Fairyland created by an English person, in England? And, did Bernard Sleigh create these maps, or did he, as he said, discover an ancient Fairyland map that he copied, and set forth before the human world? Muggles can be so silly in their insistence that fairies and magic aren’t real!

*Note: Click on highlighted titles to go to Library of Congress pages to see close up views of Fairyland maps.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.