From Library Journal
At first glance, it would seem that the depiction of airies in art was a relatively minor aspect of Victorian culture. But this book demonstrates the diverse ways in which fairies could be expressed on canvas. These depictions permitted what is here described as an unromantic, materialistic, and scientific society to escape into the world of magic, ghosts, "spiritualism, and psychology." More to the point, they allowed repressed subjects such as nudity and eroticism to be dealt with in a socially acceptable manner. A skilled and prolific writer on Pre-Raphaelite and Victorian art, Wood examines the origins of fairy painting in the works of William Blake and discusses the influence of theater and literature, in particular Shakespeare's use of fairies in The Tempest and A Midsummer Night's Dream. We are then given samples of work by the leading Victorian fairy painters and a discussion of lesser fairy painters and illustrators. Throughout, the prose is clear, to the point, and informative. The uniformly beautiful reproductions show the superb technical skill of the painters, and it is fascinating to see how they imagined this "other world." Recommended for any art library. Martin Chasin, Adult Inst., Bridgeport, CT
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