The Art of Book Design: The Violet Fairy Book

Andrew Lang. The Violet Fairy Book. Illustrated by H.H. Ford. London, New York, Longmans, Green, 1906.

Andrew Lang published a series of 12 Fairy Books, all identified by colour. The books were illustrated by H. J. Ford, and they’re filled with detailed black and white line drawings, plus a series of coloured plates. These books are amongst my favourite in the Fairy Tale genre and I’ve been saving them for a special occasion. I think the pandemic qualifies, and so for the next 12 weeks, Children’s Book Saturdays will feature the Andrew Lang series. We begin with the Violet Fairy Book, and it was difficult to choose which illustrations to share because there are so many that I like. I”ve attached all of the colour plates, plus many line drawings that include dogs, cats, snakes, lions, bears, boars, horses, dragons, plus a mermaid, because I know at least one mermaid fan out there. If you’d like to see the entire book, you can check it out at the link to The Internet Archive here and below. During the pandemic, The Internet Archive is allowing all their on-loan books out with no waiting lists, so now is the time to check them out. It’s easy to register (find a book you want, click the “borrow” button and the site will ask for your email – that’s all)  and they have millions of things you can check out all for free. Any book that isn’t offered for loan can be read at the site. The site also carries music, magazines and artwork. There’s a lot of good stuff for adults and children. Enjoy!

The Emperor meets The Three Sisters, Frontispiece, The Violet Fairy Book.

Title Page, The Violet Fairy Book.

The Tontlawald, Page 8, The Violet Fairy Book.

How the Old Man Disappeared After Dinner, Page 10, The Violet Fairy Book.

The Best Bee, Page 18, The Violet Fairy Book.

Defeat of the mountain-spirit by the youth and Schippeitario, Page 27, The Violet Fairy Book.

The beautiful woman soothes the Serpent-King, Page 30, The Violet Fairy Book.

The faithful beasts wept round the body of the prince, Page 46, The Violet Fairy Book.

The witch and the Prince, Page 50, The Violet Fairy Book.

The dragon flies off with the Empress, Page 51, The Violet Fairy Book.

Dangers following, Page 95, The Violet Fairy Book.

Stan Bolovan outwits the Dragon, Page 116, The Violet Fairy Book.

The gazelle, Page 146, The Violet Fairy Book.

The whirlwind seizes the wreath, Page 188, The Violet Fairy Book.

Morning Glory, The Fairy of the Dawn, Page 196, The Violet Fairy Book.

Page 236, The Violet Fairy Book.

The girl with the wooden helmet, Page 272, The Violet Fairy Book.

The monkey brought to Otohime, Page 277, The Violet Fairy Book.

The punishment of the stepmother, Page 310, The Violet Fairy Book.


Link to next week’s The Red Fairy Book

via: The Internet Archive


  1. says

    Ohhhhh, there’s nothing like Art Deco when it comes to fairies, but I think the little sprites in “Danger Following” are my favourites.

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