Sunday, 22 March 2009

Of fairy tales and ...




A venture to my favourite market and amongst all the stalls of china teacups,buttons and clothing was a table full of books. Dusty,worn books inviting an enquiring mind to turn pages that may have been unseen for years and years.
My eye was first caught by an ancient photograph album, faded sepia portraits stuck in amongst floral frames. I saw wonderful children's books- an old Mary Poppins book and then....
a book that was filled with magic,and opening like an ancient magician's tome to reveal the story of The Snow Queen,always a favourite from childhood. My sister and I gasped as we turned the pages and revealed the exquisite illustrations, delicately painted, the colours lucid and bright despite it's great age...




It was a book of Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales with illustrations by Edmund Dulac. I have been obsessed with illustrations from children's book for quite a while now, and we now have a small collection of well-loved books. Dulac's illustrations are full of grace and subtlety, without the dark, sometimes grotesque-ness of Arthur Rackham(another fave), and the beauty is spell-binding, it gave me butterflies to be looking at something so enchanting...






I was thrilled when the seller didn't beat around the bush with haggling and gave me his best price which was, surprisingly, very good. Although I am in desperate need of new shoes, this book was going to come home with me.. to bring magic and wonder to our lives. It was too special to let slip away.









Other tales in the book include The Little Mermaid





The Emperor and the nightingale






And this fabulous picture from,of course, the Princess and the Pea!


Perfectly magical... I love finding treasure.

10 comments:

Amber said...

oh dearie. i loved old books. i found some of my favourite childhood books the other day in my mum's bookcase. it was a pretty exciting moment.... i could remember all the words in them!

just wanted to let you know, i tagged you in my last post. so check it outttttttttt.

Rosalie said...

Wow that book is so very beautiful

agirl said...

Fantastic find! There's a special place in my heart for fairytales. My parents don't call me 'Little Miss Muffet' and 'The Little Princess' for nothing... (Still! Even though there's no longer anything at all little about me.)

Peonies and Polaroids said...

What gorgeous illustrations. Much much better than new shoes.

peewee said...

That is such a treasure! What is better than finding a great old book!?!? NOTHING!

Great site by the way :)

Alfie said...

those illustrations are amazing....gave me goosebumps looking at them. What a fantastic find!

Flora said...

Oo how exciting,Amber! I've never been tagged before.. off for a look, thanks very much!! It is so wonderful to rediscover childhood books- takes you straight back.

So glad you agree,Rosalie and I would have loved to have been called Little Miss Muffet,M,how cute.. do you have a huge fear of spiders?!

Agreed,Peony, much nicer than shoes, I will end up barefoot or shuffling about in slippers at this rate.

Hello peewee,thanks so much for commenting and you are right,very few things are as great as finding old books. Hope to see you again.

Flora said...

Hi Alfie,
I know, I was full of goosebumps looking at the illustrations in the market! The book finding gods were with me that day!
Thanks for reading.

Lynne said...

Which market is it?

Flora said...

It was Greenwich market on a thursday, when they have lots of secondhand stuff as opposed to the crafty buts and bobs on the weekend.