Continuing my love affair with classic fairytale illustrations, this time featuring the magical works of Virginia Frances Sterrett!
Viginia Frances Sterrett was a young American artist born in the year 1900, at the tail end of Britain’s Golden Age of illustration. She arrived just in time for America’s own Golden Age, though, and there can be no doubt her work must have been influenced in some part by older, Victorian-era artists such as Arthur Rackham and Warwick Goble.
Sterrett was incredibly talented, receiving her first commission – illustrating a collection of Old French Fairytales – at the tender age of 19. Sadly, in spite of her success, she did not live long – Sterrett had tuberculosis and was able to complete only three commissions before she passed away. Still, the work she undertook, creating charming illustrations for Old French Fairytales, Tanglewood Tales and Arabian Nights, lives on today, delighting book and art lovers alike.
I love the whimsical, haunting quality of Sterrett’s work. One imagines her art in part allowed her to escape into magical realms, a fairyland divorced from the nasty realities of life with consumption. Look up a portrait of Sterrett and you’d see a wide-eyed, ethereal dryad who looked as if she belonged in some fairy world. One can only imagine it was to this world she was called to at an early age, and that she lives there still, surrounded by the fairies, castles and fantastic forests of her imagination.