Saturday, March 13, 2010

Women in Folklore Month: Margaret Tarrant

Margaret Tarrant is our illustrator featured for Women's History Month on this Saturday. I often forget how many of Tarrant's illustrations are favorites of mine. I didn't grow up with her work and only discovered her since starting SurLaLune, but I know her work would have resonated deeply with my child self.

For example, her illustrations for Thumbelina are among some of my favorite ever done for the tale. I also love the image of Sleeping Beauty's mother holding the baby surrounded by fairies. I'm not the only one to have thought it makes a great birth announcement, too.

I also adore this one of Goldilocks and the little bear. It captures the moment of surprise wonderfully.

From Women Children's Book Illustrators by Denise Ortakales:

Margaret Tarrant was a prolific English illustrator that created posters, greeting cards, calendars, postcards and books for fifty years. She was most popular during the 1920’s and 1930’s for her romantic depiction of children, fairies and animals.

Tarrant was born in Battersea, a suburb of south London in 1888. She was the only child of Percy Tarrant, the landscape painter, and his wife, Sarah Wyatt. Percy was a successful illustrator of magazines as well as books and greeting cards. His work was very influential in her life and he her encouraged her to take up illustration. As a child, Tarrant would set up an ‘Exhibition Tent’ with sheets, pin up her art work and invite her parents inside for viewing.

Her first training was in the art department of Clapham High School, where she won several awards for drawing, then moving on to Clapham School of Art. She briefly trained as a teacher, but turned to watercolor painting and illustrating instead. After she had already been established as in illustrator, in 1918, 1921 and 1923, she studied at Heatherley’s School of Art, in London, and in 1935 at Guildford School of Art, where she met fellow artist Molly Brett.

Tarrant began to work for publishers of Christmas cards at the age of eighteen and became a book illustrator at the age of twenty with the publication of Kingsley’s The Water Babies in 1908. The next year, she produced a series of paintings for postcards, published by C.W. Faulkner. She worked for many publishers, working almost exclusively with the Medici Society in her later years. For them, she collaborated with Marion St John Webb on a popular series of Flower Fairy books in the 1920’s.

Tarrant’s work also became enormously popular for use on postcards, calendars, greeting cards and prints, many published by the Medici Society. Her best-known painting, ‘The Piper of Dreams’ was reproduced and sold by the thousands.

At this time, I don't know of any books in print that feature her illustrations, be they fairy tale related or not. Such a shame, too, since her work is serene but interesting, too.

You can see more of Tarrant's work on SurLaLune in her illustration gallery. I also have a Margaret Tarrant Shop on CafePress. I have many of the images as ornaments myself. And as I explored her illustrations again for today's post, I realized I need to add more because there are more I want for myself.

1 comment:

  1. There are two books now available on book depository! :)