Cicely Mary Barker (British illustrator) 1895 - 1973
The Fairies of the Summer - The Bird’s-Foot Trefoil Fairy, ca. 1925
signed with monogram CMB
© The Estate of Cicely Mary Barker
Here I dance in a dress like flames,
And laugh to think of my comical names.
Hoppetty hop, with nimble legs!
Some folks call me Bacon and Eggs!
While other people, it’s really true,
Tell me I’m Cuckoo’s Stockings too!
Over the hill I skip and prance;
I’m Lady’s Slipper, and so I dance,
Not like a lady, grand and proud,
But to the grasshoppers’ chirping loud.
My pods are shaped like a dicky’s toes:
That is what Bird’s-Foot Trefoil shows;
This is my name which grown-ups use,
But children may call me what they choose.
* * *
Cicely Mary Barker was an English illustrator best known for a series of fantasy illustrations depicting fairies and flowers. Barker's art education began in girlhood with correspondence courses and instruction at the Croydon School of Art. Her earliest professional work included greeting cards and juvenile magazine illustrations, and her first book, Flower Fairies of the Spring, was published in 1923. Similar books were published in the following decades.
Barker was a devout Anglican, and donated her artworks to Christian fundraisers and missionary organizations. She produced a few Christian-themed books such as The Children’s Book of Hymns and, in collaboration with her sister Dorothy, He Leadeth Me. She designed a stained glass window for St. Edmund's Church, Pitlake, and her painting of the Christ Child, The Darling of the World Has Come, was purchased by Queen Mary.
Barker was equally proficient in watercolour, pen and ink, oils, and pastels. Kate Greenaway and the Pre-Raphaelites were the principal influences on her work. She claimed to paint instinctively and rejected artistic theories. Barker died in 1973. Though she published Flower Fairy books with spring, summer, and autumn themes, it wasn't until 1985 that a winter collection was assembled from her remaining work and published posthumously.
List of Books:
- Flower Fairies of the Spring; Blackie, 1923
- Spring Songs with Music; Blackie, 1923
- Flower Fairies of the Summer; Blackie, 1925
- Child Thoughts in Picture and Verse (by M. K. Westcott); Blackie, 1925
- Flower Fairies of the Autumn; Blackie, 1926
- Summer Songs with Music; Blackie, 1926
- The Book of the Flower Fairies; Blackie, 1927
- Autumn Songs with Music; Blackie, 1927
- Old Rhymes for All Times; Blackie, 1928
- The Children’s Book of Hymns; Blackie, 1929; rep. 1933
- Our Darling’s First Book (written in collaboration with Dorothy Barker); Blackie, 1929
- Flower Fairies of the Seasons; Blackie, 1930
- The Little Picture Hymn Book; Blackie, 1933
- Rhymes New and Old; Blackie, 1933
- A Flower Fairy Alphabet; Blackie, 1934
- A Little Book of Old Rhymes; Blackie, 1936
- He Leadeth Me (written in collaboration with Dorothy Barker); Blackie, 1936
- A Little Book of Rhymes New and Old; Blackie, 1937
- The Lord of the Rushie River; Blackie, 1938
- Flower Fairies of the Trees; Blackie, 1940
- When Spring Came In at the Window; Blackie, 1942
- A Child’s Garden of Verses (Robert Louis Stevenson); Blackie, 1944
- Flower Fairies of the Garden; Blackie, 1944
- Groundsel and Necklaces; Blackie, 1946; reprinted as Fairy Necklaces
- Flower Fairies of the Wayside; Blackie, 1948
- Flower Fairies of the Flowers and Trees; Blackie, 1950
- Lively Stories; Macmillan, 1954
- The Flower Fairy Picture Book; Blackie, 1955
- Lively Numbers; Macmillan, 1957
- Lively Words; Macmillan, 1961.
- The Sand, the Sea and the Sun; Gibson, 1970
For more information about Cicely Mary Barker have a look at https://flowerfairies.com/