Published on the occasion of the exhibition "Victorian Fairy Painting": Royal Academy of Arts, London, 13 November 1997 - 8 February 1998; The University of Iowa Museum of Art, 28 February 1998 - 24 May 1998; The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, 10 June 1998 - 13 September 1998. Rear cover notes: "A craze for the supernatural impassioned the otherwise staid and scientific High Victorian world, as the pagan domain of fairies, goblins and elves was opened through publications such as the tales edited by the brothers Grimm, through revivals of Shakespeare's The Tempest and A Midsummer NIght's Dream, through ballets devoted to the theme of love between a mortal and a sylph or nymph, and through painting. Victorian artists from Turner to Landseer and Burne-Jones took delight in depicting with minute detail the imaginary inhabitants of the fairy realm, initially taking their cue from Shakespeare but soon devising their own scenarios and animating them with their own obsessions."
The best of these paintings belie the insipidity of later, more familiar renderings of fairyland. Like the Victorian era itself, they are far more complicated and ambiguous than is commonly remembered. -- The New York Times Book Review, Sarah Harrison Smith
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