Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Princess Mary's Gift Book

When I picked up this old book to share with you, I had no idea I'd be learning about fairies, but indeed that's what happened.

The book is called Princess Mary's Gift Book and was sponsored by Princess Mary in 1917 to raise money for WWI.

I enjoyed the charming stories and beautiful illustrations....

Isn't this one precious?
And this one looks so sweet.

Then I googled Princess Mary's Gift Book to read about it's history, and I found that two creative girls apparently used illustrations from this very book as inspiration for the great Cottingley Fairy Hoax. It was quite a sensation in Yorkshire and later throughout England. Even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (who, incidentally contributed a story to this book) was consulted by folks trying to disprove the hoax.
And there on page 104 I found some of the fairies that seemed to have inspired the girls. They probably had this book in their nursery, read it many times and wanted to believe in fairies, so they made some "paper dolls" and things got a little carried away. I'm sure it was all in good fun. In fact it sounds like something I may have done when I was a little girl. And at one time or another I'm sure we all believed in fairies and gnomes and trolls and ghosts. Maybe some of us still do. Do you?


shabby chic said...

Hello from England just stumbled across your blog and saw my blog was on it. I feel very honoured that in California you have stumbled across me !. I loved looking through your blog and seeing all your great food & your lovely home it is very beautifull and your kitchen is so lovely. I have had my wellingtons on this week as weather is so so wet and rain pouring down. I live in brighton in southern England. A beautifull part Of England is Cornwall & Dorset which is chocolate box pictureque (cadburys advertised chocolates inthe early 19th century hence the name). I have not been to california but when i have seen it on programmes it looks lovely. I would like to go to New England, maine & Vermont one day . As I love the olde England look and clapperboard houses. I would like a cottage here in England , but in East Sussex where I live houses are more Victorian & residential. I live in a terraced house.
Please pop in and say hi if you get chance x Dominique

ThriftShopRomantic said...

Ah! I've heard of this book (having known about the Cottingley Fairy issue) but have never seen it. Absolutely beautiful illustrations. Do you know who did them?

Mary said...

Oh what a beautiful book! Are you tempted to frame the illustrations?

Anonymous said...

I'm not so sure if the Cottingley fairies came from that book. They look similiar, but are noticingly different from the ones in the Cottingley photos. Either the girls used a different book, or the pictures are authentic. Back then, they would not have been able to alter such drawings to their liking. They'd have to be identical down to the last detail.

Anonymous said...

The girls had the book and got the idea to make fairies. The ladies in the book look gracefull so they most likely copied/traced those. They very well couldn't have copied the pictures exactly because then, who would believe them? If you notice the shape of the feet and the way the legs are positioned in the fairie photos, they are really similar to the fairies in the pictures.

Newport Girl said...

Hello, I picked this book up at an auction in Fairhaven MA USA some years ago, along with English Society by Du Maurier. I bought them for a song. I didn't need it but couldn't see it pulled apart for the plates. They are really beautiful and at one time was tempted to do just that but my laziness and that I have a lot of my own framed art has saved it.
I had no idea about it's conection to the famous Cottingley fairy story. Mine has a
beautifully written note. To 'Cassie with (Ahua's?) love Christmas 1914' I can't make out the givers name.
Anyway it's lovely and now more interesting because of the conection to fairies!
Thanks for the information.
Newport Girl

Roberta said...

Who wrote the book?

Fran said...

It was lovely to come across your post as I have this book but a previous owner had removed all but one of the illustrations, so I had never seen them before.

Mary B said...

just aquired the book it's beautiful and I will be reading the fairy story to my daughter, we both believe in fairies 'life has to have some fantasy in it !!!!