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When I found Mabel Dearmer’s illustrations, I was charmed by their colourful and imaginative nature. The three illustrations shown below are taken from two books that she illustrated for her fellow author Evelyn Sharp: “Wymps, and other fairy tales” (1897.7.635) and “All the way to fairyland” (1898.7.167).

The Little Witch of the Plain

The first, and my favourite, illustration from Wymps shows the Little Witch of the Plain with the suitor whom she had turned into a cat, and whom she needs to turn back with the help of the most valuable thing in the world – which turns out to be a kiss. Mabel Dearmer’s artistic beginnings in poster art can be seen clearly in many of her illustrations, and this one is a case in point. It’s eye-grabbing, with vibrant blocks of colour and clear lines, and the content can be taken in at a glance.

The second shows a little boy who is tired of being mistaken for a girl because of the smock his nurse insists on him wearing.

The little boy in the smock

The lazy dragon

The final illustration (below) from “All the way to Fairyland,” a collection of fairy stories, depicts a lazy dragon who is supposed to be guarding a Princess under enchantment, and the King who wishes to marry said Princess. Although he does marry her in the end, the story takes some unexpected turns before they can live happily ever after.

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