Fairies in Victorian Art: Christopher Wood
New revised edition with additional colour images and comment. Includes works by Richard Dadd, John Anster Fitzgerald, Joseph Noel Paton, John Simmons and many others. Victorians desperately wanted to believe in fairies. Representing escape from the reality of an unromantic, materialistic and scientific age, fairies also gave Victorians an excuse to express in acceptable ways the repressed and subconscious aspirations of a nation. Between 1840 and 1870, the golden age of fairy painting, artists expressed these longings and aspirations, as well as reflecting those of a wider Victorian audience. Christopher Wood, a leading expert on Victorian art, takes us into a world of fantasy, magic, ghouls and ghosts, spiritualism and psychology. In discussing the fascination with fairies, he examines the impact of literature (notably "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "The Tempest", dance and music on the paintings of the period, and shows how the Victorian art world found an acceptable outlet for portraying taboos like nudity, eroticism, opiates and the world of the supernatural.