Artist: Arthur Rackham (1867-1939)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Cicely Mary Barker Flower Fairies site is Back

"The Wind Flower Fairy" by Cicely Mary Barker from "Flower Fairies of the Spring," 1923.
Fans of beloved fairy artist Cicely Mary Barker will be thrilled to know that her Flower Fairies website is back. The site had been taken down in 2016 to be revamped, and is now more user friendly and easier to navigate. Click here to visit the new Flower Fairies website.

The revamped site features Barker’s flower fairy paintings with the poems she composed to accompany them. There's a books page with a biography of the artist, as well as a menu feature to find the flower fairy books currently in publication in various countries. There’s also an activities section, including printable coloring sheets, a "Spotter Guide" to help children learn about flowers of the four seasons, and more. There’s even a news and events page.

Cicely Mary Barker circa 1915
Cicely Mary Barker was born on June 28, 1895 to Walter and Mary Barker in Croydon, Surrey, England. She had one sibling, her older sister, Dorothy. Barker suffered from epilepsy throughout her early life, so her parents had her educated by a governess at home. Cicely spent a lot of her time drawing and painting, a pursuit her father encouraged as he was a talented wood carver and appreciated art. He paid for Cicely to take correspondence art courses at the Croydon School of Art. 

Her proud father took some of her paintings to postcard publishers Raphael Tuck & Co. in 1911, and the company purchased them for publication. Cicely Barker was now a professional artist. Sadly, Walter Barker died in 1912, when Cicely was just 17. Following her father’s death, Barker helped to support the family with her artwork along with her sister Dorothy, who was a teacher.

After WWI, her epilepsy resolved itself, and she never suffered from seizures again. She continued her studies at the Croydon School and was able to attend classes in person. She was made a life member of the Croydon Art Society as a teenager, becoming their youngest member. She eventually earned a teaching position at the school.

First edition of "Flower Fairies of the Spring," Blackie and Son Ltd 1923
Cicely Mary Barker published her first book, Flower Fairies of the Spring, in 1923. The book’s success led to the publication of several more flower fairy books, along with many other books. During her lifetime, she published several volumes in the flower fairy series including: Flower Fairies of the Spring (1923), Flower Fairies of the Summer (1925), Flower Fairies of the Autumn (1926), The Book of the Flower Fairies (1927), A Flower Fairy Alphabet (1934), Flower Fairies of the Trees (1940), Flower Fairies of the Garden (1944), Flower Fairies of the Wayside (1948), Flower Fairies of the Flowers and Trees (1950), and The Flower Fairy Picture Book (1955). Barker never published a winter flower fairy book during her lifetime, but Blackie and Son Ltd assembled several of Barker’s works into Flower Fairies of the Winter, which was published in 1985.

From "A Flower Fairy Alphabet" by Cicely Mary Barker, 1934.
Barker’s art career began slowing down following the death of her sister Dorothy in 1954. Afterwards the care of their elderly mother was entirely in Cicely’s hands. Barker stopped drawing and painting in 1961 due to failing eyesight. She passed away on Feb. 16, 1973, fifty years after the publication of her first flower fairies book.

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