Cicely Mary Barker | First Editions

1895 - 1973

Cicely Mary Barker (28 June 1895 – 16 February 1973) was an English illustrator best known for a series of fantasy illustrations, depicting fairies and flowers. Barker's art education began in girlhood with correspondence courses and instruction at the Croydon School of Art. Her earliest professional work included greeting cards and juvenile magazine illustrations, and her first book, Flower Fairies of the Spring, was published in 1923. Similar books were published in the following decades. Barker was a devout Anglican, and donated her artworks to Christian fundraisers and missionary organizations. Indeed, she produced a few Christian-themed books (such as The Children’s Book of Hymns and, in collaboration with her sister Dorothy, He Leadeth Me). She also designed a stained glass window for St. Edmund's Church, Pitlake.

Barker was proficient in watercolour, pen and ink, oils, and pastels. Kate Greenaway and the Pre-Raphaelites were the principal influences on her work, although she claimed to paint instinctively, and rejected artistic theories. It wasn't until 1985 that a winter collection was assembled from her remaining work and was published posthumously, culminating in her successful reputation in the following century.

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