I have been a fan of the works of book illustrator Arthur Rackham (1867-1939) for a few decades now, and must confess that I frequently picture and imagine his works when on my forest walks. Rackham was instrumental and quite an influence on the world of drawings of mythical creatures during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Actually, J.R.R. Tolkien credited many of his ideas on writing about trees such as Old Man Willow (The Lord of the Rings) and other “treeish” characters to his admiration for Rackham’s illustrations. Naturally, in honor of the wedding of our local forest inhabitants, Miss M. and R.T., I wished to post his “The Meeting of Oberon and Titania” (from his 1908 illustrations for A Midsummer Night’s Dream):
I also must add that I frequently picture happening such as this illustration by Rackham happening…or at least I like to believe that something of such mystical beauty could possibly take place (“The Fairies Are Exquisite Dancers”):
Rackham illustrated everything from collections of fairy tales we are still familiar with today, from Hans Christian Andersen to The Brothers Grimm, to works of Shakespeare to Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelungen) myth cycle, and all was infused with magic and wonder–and occasionally even fear (it’s easy to picture Tolkien’s admiration and inspiration here!):
If you find inspiration and beauty in the thought of mystical creatures in wooded places, the illustrations of Arthur Rackham are a great place to look, and if you like The Firefly Forest, perhaps you will also find delight in at least an image search of this great illustrator’s works. Many are for sale (at long last) in collections online as well, or as individual prints. And all of them are brimming with magic and delight:
Happy Forest-going, everyone, and best of luck in finding these woodland creatures to all the fairy hunting children out there (including those who are just children at heart)!