Enchanted Worlds …

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[Above: Ray Caesar, Ebb Tide, 2006. Digital Print.]

Unexpectedly impressed by Enchanted Worlds: Art of Fairy Stories & Mermaid Tales, an exhibition of painting, sculpture, photography, film, animation, puppetry, print and illustration at the Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston (until 5 September), in which the curators cast the traditional alongside contemporary interpretations of magic and fairy tales.

Highlights were: Ray Caesar‘s 30” x 55” Ebb Tide (2006) hung adjacent to The Little Mermaid series, a set of traditional pen and ink illustrations by Helen Jacobs (1935); an extract from Jean Cocteau’s 1946 film La Belle et La Bête, showing alongside a wall of colour plates from Eleanor Vere Boyle’s 1875 edition of Beauty and the Beast; Paula Rego’s quirky oil pastel interpretation(s) of Red Riding Hood (2003); a series of David Hockney’s etchings Rumpelstilzchen (1969) plus the original full colour artwork for Hansel & Gretel (1977) by Jan Pienowski.

I suspended judgment on The Cottingley Fairies (there are a couple of photographs) and Richard Dadd’s Puck (1841), but Blake’s Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing (1785) is still pretty cool!

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