Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Fairies and Breakfast with Feathered Friends



Have you seen this book?
It is a delight!
Written/drawn/published first in 1923, it combines poetry about flowers and trees with drawing of fairies.
The author/artist Cicely Mary Barker was a fragile epileptic English child, born in the late 1800's. She was too frail to attend school, so she studied art at home.
Her art was first published when she was sixteen years old, and she went on to have several books published after that. This particular book is a compilation of all her "Fairies" books.

I love that she had such an eye for flowers and plants, and that Kew garden allowed her to come and draw their flowers in bloom. The fairy faces are based on the children enrolled in her sister's nursery school, and it is wonderful to see such sweet faces and know they are the faces of real children.

Barker was a Christian, and when asked about the fairies, she was careful to say that she had never seen a fairy, that fairies were just pretend.

I find the poems and drawing are helping me remember the names of some of the flowers and trees in Salt Lake City that are new to me.



The Ash Tree Fairy poem taught me something new about the tree that shades our garden: the seed pods that we are eyeing with considerable concern, imagining seeds flying everywhere come autumn are called not clusters but rather the more charming "keys."

Today we had the Ash tree and its keys against a blue blue morning sky.

With smooth gray bark on the newer growth...yes, the poem describe the tree nicely.
This morning as we ate breakfast in the kitchen pop out window, I felt like I was breakfasting in a tree house!

We shared our time with two Downy woodpeckers, a chickadee, mourning doves, robins and various sparrow dining at the feeder a few feet from our window.

The Stafford "Herbs and Spices" china that I chose as a teenage complimented the fragrant peonies from our neigbors perfectly.
(The window view is to the west. )

With a look to the east across the deck. I usually sit facing east and to the mountains, while B. prefers (or perhaps defers to my preference...) to look west, to the other mountain range and beautiful sunsets.

Oh how I wish I could just linger at the breakfast table watching birds and flowers growing all day long!

(PS: Good news-Mama Robin is on her nest. Papa Robin did a flyover on me this morning when I went outside. I thought only nesting mockingbirds were aggressive. Maybe I need to go to get some nice fat worms as a peace offering to the nesting couple...and figure out how they would like their worms served.)

9 comments:

Lovella ♥ said...

Jill, It is amazing the history of your book and could she have known it would have still been so loved in 2009 .. .goodness, she would have been shocked. . and tickled pink. I love her pretend. . fairies. . .well said.

Vicki said...

What a darling book! I have not seen it before, nor have I heard of Miss Barker.

I love your little breakfast area up in the trees...I'd be so tempted to dally there most of the day, watching the birds and enjoying being among the leaves.

Glad to hear that the Robin family is feeling at home, too!

Sara said...

I almost bought myself a copy last December while in Seattle....but settled for perusing the pages while in the bookstore instead.

Your kitchen nook photos are so pretty and of course I clicked on them for the full effect. I see you have several packets of seeds awaiting planting. Looks like your garden is really coming along.

Barbara said...

How wwonderful to have breakfast feeling like you are in a tree house. It certainly looks like that.

Pondside said...

I've loved that book since I was a little girl and was handed down an old copy. My DIL has discovered the drawings and often chooses cards with the flower fairies.
I've had a lovely ramble around your last few posts and thoroughly enjoyed your garden - thank you!

Willow said...

I will have to go looking in used book stores for Barker's books. My MamaMia loves fairies.

Anonymous said...

How I loved my book and drawings of fairies. I'm wondering if the book I had was by Cicely Barker as the timing was in the late 1920's an early 1930's. I was so enchanted by thoughts of fairies and must have believed in them. I vaguely remember leaving my book in our garden and finding it ruined by rain. I must have sat in the garden hopeing I would see a fairy. I remember you showing me the book and I will look at it again when we come to S.L.C. Love, Mom

The Hatdiva said...

I actually have a tattoo of the X fairy. he's vexed, since he doesn't have a flower. I know her work well....

Kathy said...

Your breakfast place with the pop out window is delightful!! We are looking to expand our kitchen into the yard a bit and seeing the wonder of the pop out inspires me.

What a fun detail that the fairies have the faces of real children. I'm going to look for that book. The art is lovely.