Many Interesting Facts

Interesting and free educational stuff I find on the web

Category: Graphic Material

Frog Paintings and Illustrations

Paintings and Illustrations of the Frogs

Frogs are popular subjects in art and painters love them for many reasons. For this reason, we explored the world of oils and watercolors and arrange frog paintings in two basic groups. First is dealing with a frog as an element of the still life composition. Sometimes it’s in an arranged still life, sometimes in a natural environment.


Frog by Abbott Handerson Thayer (1849-1921), watercolor on paper (made between 1910-1915), Smithsonian American Art Museum


Fishing for Frogs by Leon Augustin Lhermitte (1844-1925), pastel on canvas, private collection

The second part is about stories with frogs in important roles. The fairy tale The Frog King first comes to most minds. There is also a frog as a messenger with good news for the queen in The Sleeping Beauty and we can all probably remember at least a few fables with frogs. In this part, the word painting is not good enough anymore. We are dealing with drawings, woodcuts, gravures, and other media as well, especially if the picture with a frog belongs to one of the numerous book illustrations presented here.


Young Biologist by Paul Peel (1860-1892), oil on canvas, 1891, Art Gallery of Ontario

But fairy tales and fables are not the only ones with frogs in an important role – we should mention at least an episode with Leto and Lykans from Greek mythology and the second plague of Egypt from the Bible.


Latona and the Frogs by David Teniers II (1610-1690), made between 1640 and 1650, oil on copper, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

So let’s enjoy the paintings and illustrations of the frogs together!

Still Life with Frogs

Believe it or not, still life paintings are not about fruits and flowers only. Artists tried to combine many seemingly unusual elements to achieve desired compositions and frogs were very popular for centuries. We can find them dead and alive, on the tables and on the forest floor, what can be seen below.


Still life with fruit (with scorpion and frog) by Hermenegildo Bustos (1832-1907), oil on canvas, Museo Nacional de Arte, Mexico City


Still Life with Frog by Carl Moll (1861-1945), oil on panel, 1883, private collection

Leto and the Frogs

Leto is one of the less known characters from Greek mythology (she is Latona in Roman mythology). One of the episodes of her life is closely connected with frogs. When she wants to get some water for herself and her newborns, the peasants of Lykia don’t allow her that by stirring the mud at the bottom and making the water dirty. She becomes angry and said they behave like frogs, so they should be frogs. Painters loved the scene!

A full story of Leto is explained right here:


Latona and the Lycian Peasants by Annibale Carracci (1560–1609), oil on canvas, Kromeriz Archdiocesan Museum, Olomouc

The Second Plague of Egypt

Pharaoh of Egypt promised to let Moses’ people go but didn’t keep his promise. So his country was punished by ten catastrophes. The second one of them was an invasion of frogs. They were everywhere, from waters to bedrooms. Their croaking was unbearable. Here are a few graphic presentations by the artists.


The Plague of Frogs by Gerard Jollain (?-1683), engraving, The Saints Bible, Containing the Old and the New Testament, Enriched with Several Beautiful Figures, 1670


The Second Plague of Egypt – Frogs Will Spread Throughout The Land by Jan Luyken (1649-1712), copper engraving, Rijksmuseum Research Library, 1729


Plague from Exodus – Frogs by Jean Le Pautre (1618-1682),  draft for a painting


Frogs Plague , Exodus by Johann Georg Pintz (1697-1767), Physica Sacra (Kupfer-Bibel), copperplate engraving, 1731

Fables with Frogs

Roles of animals in fables is very predictable. The fox is witty, the wolf if greedy, the rabbit timid, frogs may be much more versatile. In some fables they can be carefree, ambitious or simply mean, what somehow corresponds with their versatility in nature.

The Frogs Asking for a King

Frogs were not happy without some sort of leadership and persisted to get a king until they got one. They were very sorry about that but it was too late.


The Frogs Asking for a King by Arthur Rackham (1867-1939), Aesop’s Fables, 1912


The Frogs Asking for a King by Gustave Dore, Fables of La Fontaine, 1868




The Frogs Desiring A King by Richard Heighway (1832-1917), series of illustration, with decorative capital letter and a moral, The Fables of Aesop, 1922


King Log aka King Stork by Walter Crane (1845-1915), Baby’s Own Aesop, shortened and put into limericks for the younger reader, adaptation, illustration and design, 1887


The Frogs Who Desired a King by Charles Robinson (1870-1937), The Big Book of Fables, 1912


Frogs Asking for a King by Louis John Rhead (1857-1926), Aesop’s Fables, 1927



The Frogs and Their King by Thomas Bewick (1753-1828), Aesop’s Fables, two illustration, engravings, and a moral, 1783


Of the Frogs Desiring a King by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677), The Fables of Aesop, 1665


The Frogs Asking for a King by Harrison Weir (1824-1906), Three Hundred Aesop’s Fables, 1867

The Ox and the Frog

A frog decided to become as big as an ox and inflated oneself until exploded.


Benjamin Rabier (1864-1939) illustrated this series of illustrations for The Frog Who Would Be as Big as an Ox in La Fontaine’s Fables, published by Librairie illustree, Paris in 1906.


Tha same fable from the La Fontaine’s colection was published by Alfred Mame et fils, Tours, in 1863 and was reprinted at least six times (1881, 1898, 1935, 1945, 1952, 1953). The illustrator was Karl Girardet (1813-1871).


Harrison Weir illustrated The Ox and the Frog for the book Three hundred Aesop’s fables. This book was published by George Routledge and Sons in London and New York in 1867. It might be interesting to note that pictures were engraved by John Greenaway, father of Kate Greenaway. John Greenaway was a woodcutter, who was specialised in animal engravings after Weir’s illustration.


The illustration above is signed by Henry Walker Herrick (1826-1906), American illustrator and was one of many in The fables of Aesop ( with a life of the author), published by Hurd and Houghton, New York in 1869.

Next two illustrations were done by Oliver Herford (1863-1935):



They were published in The Herford Aesop: fifty fables in verse by Ginn and Co., Boston, in 1921.

(to be continued)

-The Hares and the Frogs

Hares had enough of being afraid of everything, so decided to drown themselves. By the way, they scared a few frogs. Noticing at least somebody is even more afraid than them, they immediately felt better.

-The Frog and the Rat

The frog coined a plan to trick the rat but the plan didn’t pan out particularly well. The hawk spotted and ate them. Both.

-The Two Frogs and the Well

Two frogs were looking for some water when they found a well. One promptly tried to jump in, but the other stopped him by asking: How will they come out?

-The Quack Frog

A frog (a toad) informed other animals he is a doctor who can cure all the diseases. His career was short-lived. a fox asked him how kind of doctor is he if he can’t cure his own wrinkles.

Fairy Tales with Frogs

The Frog King

This famous fairy tale about growing up, taking responsibilities, and getting ready for life-changing transformations is among the most popular in the world for centuries. There are only a few illustrations from the story.


The Frog King by Koleman Moser (1868-1918), oil on canvas, 1895


The Princess and the Frog by William Robert Symonds (1858-1937), oil on canvas, 1894, The Bridgeman Art Library


The Frog Prince  by Marianne Stokes (1855-1927), oil on canvas,  1890, private collection


The Frog Princess (Frog Tsarevna) by Viktor Mikhailovich Vasnetsov (1848-1926), oil on canvas, 1918, Vasnetsov Memorial Museum, Moscow

While this picture presents the princess after the transformation, we can see her how she looked before in next one:


The Frog Princess (Tsarevna liagushka), picture book, 1901

If you want more illustrations on the theme of Frog Prince, visit a page dedicated to illustrations from The Frog King (The Frog Prince):

The Sleeping Beauty

There is no frog in older editions of this famous fairy tale, but brothers Grimm added it in the beginning, as a symbol of fertility who informs the queen about the baby she is yearning for so long time.


The Sleeping Beauty by Arthur Rackham, 1920


The Briar Rose by Adrian Ludwig Richter (1803-1884), Grimms’ Fairy Tales

There’s also a nursery rhyme A Frog He Would A-wooing Go, so masterfully illustrated by Randolph Caldecott.


All illustrations from this classic collectible picture book with additional info are available here:
We’ll add even more graphic material about frogs in the future, so stay tuned. Please, share this knowledge with your friends!

List of Famous Fairy Tale Authors and Collectors

Who wrote the most popular fairy tales?

Fairy tales seem to be with us from the beginning of time, yet certain authors and collectors need to work hard before we got a chance enjoying in them. Who are the most popular fairy tale authors, collectors, editors, and translators? Who was the first, who the most original, who the most prolific? Some of them are well-known to everybody, others to die-hard fans only. This page is dedicated to all of them. Enjoy in the learning process!

Italian Fairy Tale Authors

Giovanni Francesco Straparola (1485-1558)

Giovanni Francesco Straparola was also known as Zoan Francesco Straparola di Caravaggio. He was a poet, writer, and collector. His life is a mystery to historians and even his birth and death dates are unreliable. It’s suspected he worked as a ghostwriter for different noblemen. Straparola is almost certainly a pseudonym (roughly meaning “The one who talks too much and only useless stuff”).


His most important work is definitely Le Piacevoli Notti Di M. Giovanfrancesco Straparola da Caravaggio) The Facetious Nights or The Pleasant Nights), published in Venice in two volumes (1551 and 1553). This book is a collection of 75 stories with first printed fairy tales (only some of the stories can qualify as fairy tales), organized in a frame format, modeled on Boccaccio’s Decameron. The Facetious Nights presents the oldest variants of The Master Thief, The Puss in Boots, Iron Hans, etc.


Giambattista Basile (1566-1632)

Giovan Battista Basile started his political career as a soldier and a mercenary. In this time he briefly visited Venice as a birthplace of fairy tale (thanks to Straparola) and Crete, as a melting pot of all major Mediterranean culture. While he improved his social position to administrator, organizer, a governor and finally became a count, simultaneously built a literary career as a poet, dramatist, writer, and collector.


Dozens and dozens of his literary successes are forgotten today, but he’ll stay forever remembered by a work which was published only after his death: Lo cunto de li cunti, Trattenemiento de li Peccerille (The Tale of Tales, or Entertainment for Little Ones) and by a pseudonym: Gian Alesio Abbattutis. This is the first national collection of fairy tales (50 altogether), a work, written in Neapolitan dialect, which set standards for all later collections, and a collection of stories with dominant riches-to-rags-to-riches plot which also became one of major a standards for all literary works.


The Tale of Tales, popularly named Pentamerone (suggesting the same structure as Decameron) presents some of the oldest versions of fairy tales, like Cinderella, The Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Diamonds, and Toads, etc.

Carlo Collodi (1826-1890)

Carlo Collodi was a pen and a stage name of Carlo Lorenzini, who took it from the mother’s native village where he lived for the most of his early years. His father, a cook, and mother, a seamstress, worked for Marquis Lisci. Carlo was a talented student and got an offer for a paid scholarship if he becomes a priest. Instead of that he rather started working at a bookstore and later enrolled into a Tuscan army. He not only served as a volunteer during the Italian independence war but founded a satirical paper as well.


His literary work was later described: “At first Carlo makes you laugh. Then he makes you think.” His first literary works were political and often censored. He started using a pen name Collodi in 1860. Disappointed with the political situation after the unification of Italy, he started writing for children. His first work was a translation of Charles Perrault’s The Tales of Mother Goose in 1875.


Collodi’s original stories for kids were educational and focused on the foundation of united Italy. He started a weekly newspaper serial about adventures of a wooden puppet. It was titled Story of a Puppet, with a subtitle Adventures of Pinocchio. After the 15th chapter the serial was canceled but due to the protests of the audience, it reappeared later. It was published as a standalone book in 1883. It became a huge hit only after Collodi’s death and is still considered as one of the most recognizable characters in children’s literature.

Laura Gonzenbach (1842–1878)

Laura Gonzenbach was a Swiss folklorist born in Sicily. She collected many fairy tales in different Sicilian dialects. She visited peasants and workers in their home places listening to the oral tradition and preserving it in what eventually became Sicilian Fairy Tales, a book in two volumes. She is one of the rare women who worked that way. Her work, originally published in German (she was fluent in many languages) was ignored for a long time before it was translated in Italian (Rubini, 1999) and English (Zipes, 2004).


French Fairy Tale Authors

Madame d’Aulnoy (1650-1705)

Marie-Catherine d’Aulnoy, often also credited as Countess or Baroness d’Aulnoy, lead controversial life with a husband (she was forced into arranged marriage) accused of treason, several lovers, children of unknown father(s), temporary (for about two decades) exclusion from society, living in exile, working as a spy, and numerous literary works with free minded heroines who shared many elements from her personal life, mixed with folklore.


Madame d’Aulnoy is best remembered by her two collections of fairy tales, aiming at an adult audience in French literary saloons, where fairy tales were read aloud and sometimes partly played as stage works. She is credited as the author who coined the phrase fairy tale (conte de fees).


Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve (1685-1755)

Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve was a member of a rich protestant family from La Rochelle but mostly lived in Paris. She was married to a man who lost almost all family inheritance (his and her) in just a few months, separated from him, became a widow at 26 years, started writing fairy tales and novels to support herself, and eventually met Prosper Jolyot de Crebillon, who was the most famous playwright in France.

While living with de Crebillon, helping him at his duties, she wrote her biggest commercial success, a novel Beauty and the Beast, oldest written and very long story which is today known in shortened fairy tale format.


Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont (1711-1780)

Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont was a daughter of a Jean Baptiste Nicolas Leprince , who was a painter ans sculptor. Due the mix of circumstances she received extraordinary education (for girl), initially being predestined to become a nun. Yet, at 24 years she left school and became a governess in the court of Duke Leopold, close relative of Louis XIV.


Education of children, especially young girls, became her major occupation for the rest of her life. She led pretty lively and sometimes mysterious private life. Her first marriage was annulled, but she got daughter, who later became grandmother of Prosper Merimee. Her second husband (if they were even married) was a spy. It is believed there were several other important men in her life between both of them, but her affairs remained secret.

In 1748 Jeanne-Marie left France for 15 years and, while being a governess again,  this time in London, established an educational magazine, which set standards for the future periodical educational material. She also set standards in education of children. Her influence is undoubtful – she was a governess of the future lady Charlotte’s daughter and Lady Charlotte who became a governess of 15 children of Edward III, used Jeanne-Marie’s methods in their education.

One of the characteristics of her magazine was use of stories and fairy tales for education and the most popular among these stories is definitely The Beauty and the Beast, a shortened and simplified version of  the same story written by above-mentioned Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve.

The Beauty and the Beast is still one of the most recognizable fairy tales in the world. Accordin to World Catalog it had 218 reprints in seven languages between 1818 in 2017! The Beauty and the Beast is considered the most popular French fairy tale outside of Perrault’s original collection.

Charles Perrault (1628-1703)


Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de La Force (1654-1724)

Sophie Segur (1799-1874)






German Fairy Tale Authors

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm (1785-1863, 1786-1859)

Ludwig Bechstein (1801-1860)

William Hauff (1802-1827)

English Fairy Tale Authors

Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

Andrew Lang was an anthropologist, collector, critic, historian, journalist, poet, and writer. As an extremely prolific and productive author he is mostly remembered by his collections of fairy tales, today simply called Lang’s Color Fairy Books, published between 1889 and 1910. His wife Leonora is credited as a translator of the majority of these fairy tales.


Lang’s Color Fairy Books are named after colors (Blue, Red, Green, Yellow, Pink, Grey, Violet, Crimson, Brown, Orange, Olive, and Lilac) and present huge volume of fairy tales and fables from all over the world, many first published in the English language. Lang didn’t collect the stories from oral sources, but from different printed books in other languages. Considering this and the huge, yet not clearly known contribution of his wife he should rather be credited as an editor than author or collector.

Lewis Carrol (1832-1898)

Joseph Jacobs (1854-1916)

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)


Oscar Wilde wrote only two books of fairy tales: The Happy Prince and Other Tales (1888) with five and A House of Pomegranates (1891) with four titles. Despite the low number several of them became classics. They are relatively long, with strong messages, very emotional, and with Wilde’s signature wit. While he initially wrote his first book of fairy tales for his own two sons believing the already available books of fairy tales were simply not good enough, he described the second one as ‘never meant for a British child or British public’.


All nine stories deal with deep moral issues, have much darker tones as typical stories for kids, are sometimes truly pessimistic, with a notable influence of another great writer: Hans Christian Andersen. Huge impact on both books had Oscar Wilde’s wife Constance who definitely worked as an editor on them, but we’ll never know how much of the final result came from Oscar and how much from Constance’s mind. While she also tried herself in the field of children’s literature with an adaptation of classic fairy tales, she never signed anything nearly as important and lasting as her husband.

More about her and their relationship can be read here:

Frank Baum (1856-1919)

Russian Fairy Tale Authors

Alexander Afanasyev (1826-1871)

Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837)

Scandinavian Fairy Tale Authors

Peter Christen Asbjornsen and Jorgen Moe (1812-1885, 1813-1882)

Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875)

to be continued…

Are You A Working Mom? Here Are Some Tips For You

Working Moms Need To Master Time Management!

Working mothers are important category of USA economy. Among all groups they are probably the most versatile workers. apart from doing regular jobs, they are also in majority of cases in charge of their households too. Like all mothers they have to balance among common tasks like:

* cleaning
* shopping
* cooking
* helping kids at school work (homework, projects, activities)
* taking work home


and of course

* waiting for stitches in the emergency room
* being a fashion consultant to teenagers
* fishing bubble gum out of kids’ hair
* secretly eating sweets in the bathroom
* discovering leftovers of yesterday’s lunch in schoolbags

but they had to show their max at job too.


Where majority of working mothers work?

The official stats show top fields are:

  • administration (for instance secretaries)
  • education (for instance teachers)
  • health (for instance nurses)

57 percent of women older than 16 years are part of so called labor force. 74 percent of them work full time and 26 are part time employed.

70 percent of women with underage children participate in labor force.


Government studies show that despite some fluctuations working mothers are on the rise. While only 30 percent of mothers with a youngest kid under six years worked full time in 1970, in 2010 about 60 percent of mothers with youngest child under six work full time. In the group of mothers with youngest child between six and eighteen numbers are even higher: from 49 raised to 74 percent.


In 2014 almost 10 millions of single mother families (with kids under 18 years) were registered in USA. Half of these mothers were never married, others were divorced, widowed or separated.


And here is official comparison of women’s earnings against average men’s earnings in 2014:


As you can see, average man’s wage is set on 100 and a single woman without children really doesn’t earn so much less (about 4 percent). Although a gender based wage is still obvious, it really becomes a huge problem when women become mothers.

This can be explained by several major factors, but we’ll not go in details.


Tips for working mothers are similar to other time management tips, but like every group with specific characteristics, they have some specificities. Here is a quick list of tips:

– plan (when you see your day, week or month on a sheet of paper, you’ll more realistically asses what is feasible and what is not);

– set priorities (the secret of happy and successful people is not their efficiency, they in general don’t do more in less time, they just do more important things before less important ones, so in long term they make progress in their lives according to their personal values);


– be realistic (don’t try to squeeze too much obligations into your time table, it’s much better to have achievable goals and occasionally surpass them);

– wake up early (if you wake up before other family members, you’ll get a chance to do something for them or for you without disturbance);

– use evenings (many obligations, like preparing a school bag, can be done in advance, before the morning fever starts, some can be done by others and some by yourself);

– develop routines (if everybody in the family knows who, when, where and how to do what is has to be done, the day will instantly start running smoothly or at least smoother);


– delegate and outsource (certain chores can be done by others, try to assign them to other family members, just keep control of their performance, so you can constantly improve their efficiency and outsource even more);

– divide (have time and place for each of your duties, don’t do multitasking, because it is scientifically proven it is less effective);

– allot (all bigger problems tend to become even bigger if not done fast enough, but can also be split into smaller, easier and less time consuming pieces);

– be picky (only one or two activities per kid in entire year, be present only at certain number of games, parties, celebrations);


– trade (for instance alternate driving kids with a friend, so each one of you can have some extra time for other stuff);

– predict (in time you’ll learn to anticipate most of the unpredictable problems in family and work, so you can think in advance how these can be solved by you, your relatives or your friends, it is also smart to have a backup for each backup);

– have a plan for time pockets (there will always be times when you’ll just wait, so it’s smart to have a list of not so urgent things, like checking the weather forecast, calling a friend, reading an article, answering an email, sort bills, etc. which can be done then, but can also wait for less busy evening, if for some reason there will be no waiting);

– do less (some activities, like checking emails or cleaning the kitchen are repetitive, and really can’t be 100 percent done, so it’s best to do them only few times per day or stop doing at when are already done good enough);

– turn things off (television, computer and phone are among biggest time stealers, what doesn’t mean you have to stop using them, just learn when you want to watch them and when it’s best to shut them down;


– just say no (be aware even super moms are only mere mortals, they all need to sleep, have fun or simply do nothing, so always have empty spaces especially in the beginnings and ends of the days, but also at least on non-busy day in the week);

– analyze (you can’t evaluate your life without clear goals and occasional assessment of your progress, so it’s obligatory to check what you had done, how you could do the same better and what should be done instead, experts on time management recommend to spend at least five to ten minutes on this once per week and suggest Fridays as best day).

If you have some real life tips about time management for working moms, please let me know in comment section!

Short History of Vintage Graphic Design

Vintage graphic design in picture books for kids with examples


For today’s post I decided to present some vintage graphics from times when picture books were born as mass media. In the last two decades of 19th century the golden standard for illustrated books for kis were set and they are still applied today. Two of the most influential people were definitely Edmund Evans, one of pioneers of color printing, who offered cheap, yet quality picture books to masses and successfully fused art with commercial product, and Walter Crane (1845-1915), prolific artist with superb sense for details, who was a socialist by heart and sincerely believed art should be applied everywhere and accessible for everybody.

Walter Crane should be also credited as the top designer of his time. Design was the tool to join text and illustration, both already existing in illustrated books for centuries, into new media, called picture books, where everything counts – text, typography, spacings, footer, headers, the arrangement of text, full color and black and white illustrations, full page and double page picture, vignettes, even the quality of paper and binding of the books … He came from a family with a lot of artistic talent. Thomas Crane (1808-1859), his father, was successful portraitist and miniaturist, and his older brother, also named Thomas, was a painter and an illustrator too.

There is not much info about Thomas Crane Jr. available. He was born in 1843, two years before Walter. While the date of his death is unknown, we can pretty safely presume, he died before 1944, what makes his work public domain in EU. We also know, who worked with another artist in the family (a cousin of Crane’s brothers) on several projects. Her name was Elizabeth Ellen Houghton. She was born in 1853 and died in 1922. Her favorite media were watercolors and pencil. Apart from illustrations and paintings, Ellen E. Houghton, as she was often signed, was known by her work on advertising posters.

Thomas and Ellen collaborated on the work, presented in this post as well. She draw figures and Thomas took care about ornaments. Usage of decorating elements, fusion of text with graphics and overall design clearly resembles the style of Walter and here are the typical examples of this Victorian art:

example-cover-vintage-picture-bookAs we can already notice on this cover of old picture book, there are many tiny elements which are not popular in contemporary design of book covers. In 19th century book cover tried to show artistic skills of illustrators and we can clearly see many lovely designs, artistic typography used for names of both artists and there is also the name of the publisher. The main scene is caught in a circl, surrounded with flowers, birds and other small objects, used colors are easy on the eyes and act classy. This is by no means a book which screams BUY ME!, as many do today.



This endpapers with swallows is another proof  of different approach. Endpapers is technically used only to join the covers with the internal side of the book. There is no need to spend a lot of time or many for this. Well, some publishers still pay attention to it, but majority don’t really care about endpapers and use something what is already made, maybe one of pictures from the book, or simply colored paper, matching one of the dominant colors in the book. It’s hard to find somebody who is designing endpapers for modern picture books.


This is internal cover with the same motif of swallows. The title is nicely written on some kind of tag.



Another rarity – decorative initials in this lovely vintage vignette.


This is first full page illustration in the book. We’ll present all full page illustrations, which are made by Elizabeth Ellen Houghton. It is obvious her artistic expression was seriously limited by printing technique with only few colors available. Yellow and blue with basic combinations (greenish and brownish tones are very characteristic for vintage prints) and of course black.


We finally arrived to inside cover with imaginary arranged text.


Content of the book was another opportunity to show artistic skills of Thomas Crane Jr., who’s father was well-known miniaturist. Content section of a vintage book was far from being informative only.


This Houghton’s illustration was already used for the cover, this time we can enjoy in it without a cut.


Now we can see something completely different – combination of text and illustration, blended together with numerous designs by Mr. Crane. These small objects act like some kind of frame and actually distract reader from the story. This is the main reason why we can’t see this kind of design in modern picture books. But we have to admit this view offers many artistic pleasures.


The effect of the frame is even more obvious in the page above.


Now we can enjoy in different, asymmetrical design. Text and illustration are separated with lines, but both artists used lines to connect them in unique way. Ellen Houghton draw a cathedral with emphasized lines and Thomas Crane made kind of wired fence in corners, fused with the text between. The page is well balanced and pure joy for the eyes.


Another full page illustration, this time with few elements similar to ones used by Thomas Crane (text on the wall, details on the pillar and tiles on the floor). Every detail counts.

vintage graphic-design-with-vignettes

Another ‘framed’ illustration, in this case with four symmetrical vignettes.


More frames and more small details, this time in asymmetrical design.


We can’t help to notice how many geometry was included in Ellen Elizabeth Houghton’s illustrations. Circles, squares and triangles.


And more circles, squares and triangles.


Another beautiful example of collaboration of two skilled artists. The whole page is designed to show how hard was the life of washerwomen. Next series of full page illustrations will have to do without a commentary.









And for the grand finale another example of decorated page from vintage picture books:

vintage-decorations-by-thomas-craneAnd the back cover:


A lot of different styles in unique expression of one of many picture books for kids in 19th century. Nice and educating example of vintage graphic design by Thomas Crane Jr. and Ellen Elizabeth Houghton.

50 Shades of Purple

What colors make purple? (with a long list of shades with names)

Or: What two colors make purple?

Simply saying: a purple is a color between red and blue in the color wheel. But as you can see on the picture below where only a fraction of possible mixes of three primary colors is displayed, this definition is in most cases far from satisfactory. There are actually hundreds of different colors, each with a unique name, between red and blue and the word purple is definitely not enough to describe all of them.


There are three colors placed between red and blue with purple in the middle.

A unique definition of purple color does not exist. While every mix of blue and red can qualify, we can, at least, say blue and red are mandatory components. We can add a bit of yellow as well, so all possible brownish tones are candidates too. If we further complicate with an addition of white or black, life becomes really colorful!

If we explore a bit, we quickly find many people use words purple and violet for the same color. Or: they use the same name for different colors, especially if we are dealing with folks with different cultural backgrounds, for instance with Americans and Europeans. Anyways, in general, we expect purple to have a higher degree of red and violet more blue in the mix.

Because there are so many different hues of purple out there, we’ll explore some of them in detail and here is a quick list:


Difference between purple and violet

In optics, things are a bit easier. Violet is so called true color. It has its own space in the spectra (around 750 THz) and purple is simply a mix of two other real colors (red and blue). Our mission is to present 50 different shades of purple with examples and hex codes which can be used in every graphic program, so you can not only easily find and use the right purple shade, but name it (and maybe even find a bit of interesting info about it) as well.

Here are first five for start:


800080 Purple (also Patriarch Purple)
9370DB Medium Purple 
BF00FF Electric Purple
A020F0 Purple (X11)
9F00C5 Purple (Munsell) 

We can already notice some vagueness in the nomenclature. We have the color with simple name purple, there is medium purple and electric purple (with an old name true purple). This color is exactly on the halfway between red and blue and is by artists considered as pure purple, but in the more accurate three-dimensional Munsell’s system we have a different color with the same name. And by the way, Veronica (old name for another shade) or purple (X11) ( a new name for the same shade – this standard is constructed for web browsers) is sometimes called medium purple too!

The purple color is relatively rare in nature and it was for centuries reserved for nobility only. The pigment for purple dye was made from sort of sea snail and for one piece of colored cloth they needed tens or hundreds of thousands of snails, there was a lot of manual work and the procedure was very time-consuming, so you can imagine it was expensive (the price was approximately the same as the price of silver). Because the pigment was produced in ancient city Tyre (today it is part of Lebanon), the dye was sometimes called Tyrian purple. Being the color of kings and emperors, it is sometimes called imperial purple. There are of course other shades, tones, hues and tints with names suggesting its expense and prestige:

66023C Tyrian Purple (also Imperial Purple)
92717C Sovereign Purple
7851A9 Royal Purple
6C3082 Eminence
9678B6 Purple Mountain Majesty

Don’t worry if you find another color with the same name and different hex code, because standards are not unique. Considering the fact some shades are used for many centuries and the color in real life was made from pigments with varying quality, color becoming paler with exposure to the sun and other elements, this is only logic to expect.


In the next set, we can see the association with precious stones and the last color is the color of prestigious US military decoration.


86608E Pomp and Power
B768A2 Pearly Purple
843F5B Deep Ruby
9966CC Amethyst
69359C Purple Heart

Important people in Old Rome adored this color and we can find the shades named after locations in both parts of the Roman Empire. The Eastern part survived longer, so we can’t be surprised to have at least three variations of basically the same color named after Byzantium.


BD33A4 Byzantine
702963 Byzantium
5D3954 Dark Byzantium
682860 Palatinate Purple
66424D Deep Tuscan

As we could easily add another set of purple tones named after places (magenta, for instance) the same is true with flowers as well. We’ll limit with only ten different shades with fuchsia and orchids being dominant representatives.

flowers-of-purple-color915C83 Antique Fuchsia
C154C1 Deep Fuchsia
CA2C92 Royal Fuchsia
563C5C Petunia
DF00FF Phlox

All the names with the word violet are included in the list of violet shades and you can find magenta and additional shade of fuchsia among pinks. We can add the fact phlox, named after the flower is often called psychedelic purple. This color is fluorescent magenta and blue pigments and it was very much in favor in the hippie movement. Jimmy Hendrix was one of the biggest fans.


DA70D6 Orchid
D39BCB Light Medium Orchid
BA55D3 Medium Orchid
9932CC Dark Orchid
CC00FF Vivid Orchid

Another set of purples comes from the garden, this time, we’ll meet few shades of eggplant (aubergine in French) and sweet potato (also known as yam or ube).


D19FE8 Bright Ube
663854 Halaya Ube
614051 Eggplant
430541 Eggplant Purple
990066 Aubergine

We’ll continue our journey through the lands of purples, inspired by nature, in the woods – with five kinds of berries. Again, we’ll skip grapes and plums, to stay within our limit of 50 tones of purple.


873260 Boysenberry
872657 Dark Raspberry
C54B8C Mulberry
FC5A8D Strawberry
FF43A4 Wild Strawberry

Ready for some more … purple? Next set of names is pretty descriptive as is. By the way – purpureus is purple in Old German.

8F00FF True Purple
B39EB5 Pastel Purple
B19CD9 Light Pastel Purple
966FD6 Dark Pastel Purple
9A4EAE Purpureus

Let’s conclude with last set of five purple colors. Blush is a new name for the color which was before called cranberry purple. Pizzaz is used to describe vitality, we have fandango, a dance from Spain and Portugal, Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday in French), the famous carnival in masks, and for the final – a brownish tone called taupe what means a mole in French.

purple-shades-and-tonesDE5D83 Blush
FE4EDA Purple Pizzazz
B53389 Fandango
880085 Mardi Gras
50404D Purple Taupe

This color is definitely one of the most powerful ones with powerful psychological effects and strong historic background and it is still among the most popular colors for special occasion, like weddings or parties, for instance.

personalized-throw-pillow-purplepersonalized-tee-shirts-with-picturesPurple throw pillows and purple tees above are just two of the examples of the popularity of purple colors. They are not meant for everyday use, but rather to make an impression. A lasting one!

Don’t forget – all purples are basically made of two colors only (red plus blue in approximately equal proportions), but the beauty lies in the details … I hope you have found all the purple shades and tones you wanted!

A Flower Wedding

Walter Crane: A Flower Wedding

Summer is popular time for weddings and we have already taken a realistic approach to wedding expenses, but in this post we’ll turn to much more romantic, poetic side of ‘the big day’, which inspired many artists to interpret it in their own unique ways. A Flower Wedding by Walter Crane is actually one of his signature books, where he is able to show his wide range of talents. He wrote the text, chose the typography and made complete design of this book from 1905.


We have already met Mr. Crane at his projects with Mrs. Molesworth where he excelled  in black and white drawings. This time we’ll have a chance to enjoy in Walter Crane’s colors and relatively minimalist scenery with many subtle details by which he was always known for (many experts agree Crane’s best work for children are his illustrations of fairy tales of brothers Grimm). A Flower Wedding is a picture book with series of two page illustrations (so called block pages), so with exceptions of title and closing pages I will present pages in pairs. I also had to correct some minor errors, but I believe the feeling of the book and especially the mastery of the illustrator should be intact.

As I said, book was published in 1905, publisher was Cassell & Company from England. Enjoy in lovely characters, superb selection of colors and the overall fairy feeling!




















If you want to learn more about Mr. Crane, here is another link to find out additional info:

But there is actually no need for additional words, right?

Color Psychology

Color psychology – colours and meanings

Colors effect human behavior what can be (and is) used and abused in numerous ways. This is known and applied in medicine,  sport, marketing, traffic and many more or less important areas of everyday life. We can associate every color with specific mood and different energy, it’s connected with rich symbolism, but there are still too many variables to predict how, for instance, can change of package of a product effect the decisions of consumers.

how colors impact our moods

The effect of colors can be unpredictable

The reason is simple. Our perception of colors is dependent on our environment, gender, age, experiences, religion, nationality … and of course of context of usage. Tribes living in jungle have completely different perception of different hues of green color like people raised in big cities, where green is not nearly as closely connected with survival. Or another example: while blue is in general the most popular color, it is not suitable for food package.

In short: every color has several meanings and these always depend on numerous factors.

What does the color white mean?

White is associated with honesty, innocence, light, peace, perfection, purity and truth. It’s the color of new beginnings, suitable for births, weddings, medicine and science. It’s neutral color which can be used in combination with majority of other colors and is considered as summer color, but as the color of snow it also has cooling effect.

Negative associations of color white: being perceived more as the lack of color than color itself, it can be related with absence, boredom, sterility and is in different cultures color of death and mourning.


White can represent emptiness

What does the color yellow mean?

Yellow is associated with creativity, enthusiasm, happiness, joy, glory, optimism and pleasure. It’s the color of attention, but can be irritating very soon, if used in large quantity. Apart from black and white yellow goes particularly well with blue and green (beware of different shades), but combination with red is not so good idea, because the result can be too aggressive. It is also a color of autumn and its abundance.

Negative associations of color yellow: it’s the color of envy, illness and treachery. Color yellow is also associated with anxiety and irrationality. Remember: it has the power to enhance the experience – in positive and negative ways. In marketing yellow is perceived as youthful, lighthearted, a bit irresponsible and childish. It can be, for instance, used for a sports car, but not for a limousine.


Yellow is very optimistic color

What does the color orange mean?

Orange is color of activity, attention, attraction, energy, excitement, success and youth. Being named after an evergreen tree it is also associated with fruitfullness. The name covers all colors between yellow and red in visible spectra, thus orange is associated with similar characteristics and pairs with the same colors as both os them. It is not so light as yellow and is less aggressive than red.

Negative associations of color orange: orange can be perceived as the color of deceit, flamboyance and immaturity. It’s very visible and captivating color and is often used in dangerous situations, when we want to warn or at least attract attention, like in traffic or for life jackets. Food industry love it as well. While orange is very rare color for cars, an interesting study showed used cars with this color in general lose less value than others. But the reason is probably rarity, not the orange color itself.

what color orange means

Orange is very energetic and exotic color

What does the color red mean?

Red is color of anger, courage, danger, heat, passion, sexuality and strength. Considering black and white are not ‘true colors’, it was the first color which got a name. Being the color of blood and fire, it is strongly connected with love and revolution. It’s the most popular color of flags, no mater if we count number of appearances or measure the red area of an average flag.

Negative associations of color red: it is very aggressive, strongly associated with pain, violence and war. Sport teams love it and a study from Olympic Games in 2004 clearly showed that judges in combat sports, where the final result depends of their scores, preferred competitors in red uniforms. Men find women in red dresses more attractive and redheads have more active sex life. Red increases heartbeat and stimulates appetite. It is very popular in restaurants. Being closely related to more natural brown, designers like it for the color of furniture too. It’s great in food industry, but totally wrong in courtrooms. It’s important to note, with addition of white red as the color of aggression becomes pink, the color of gentleness.

what represents color read

Red is color of sin

What does the color purple mean?

Popular with Emperors and bishops, purple soon achieved a reputation of royalty color. It is color of ambition, extravagance, luxury, magic, mystery, prestige and wisdom. Purple is secondary color, a mixture of red and blue and combines the strength of red with the efficiency of blue. An interesting research showed purple is by far the most popular color among pre-adolescents.

Purple also have negative connotations. It can be understood as a sign of decadence, inferiority and melancholy. Purple, if not used in right context can easily achieve too dramatic effect. Being very rare in nature purple can easily make an impression of artificiality. Definitely not the right color for presenting healthy lifestyle!

What is the difference between purple and violet? Although both colors are often used interchangeably, violet (closer to the blue wavelength) is true color which is seen in spectra of visual light, but purple (closer to the red wavelength) is only made after red and blue are blended.

mening of purple color

Purple makes a great match with gold

What does the color blue mean?

Color blue is closely related with confidence, harmony, loyalty, patience, relaxation, tranquility and truth. It’s especially valued by its calming effect, which is tested by installing blue street lights in differen places of the world. Some report about reduction of criminal acts, but we still don’t have reliable study. Blue is favorite color of most men and women.

Blue can have negative effects in certain situations. Although the color of water and the sky, it is perceived as cold, sad, even depressing. It’s a very popular color of suits in business world, because it suggests loyalty. Hi tech companies like blue in their logos, because it is related with accuracy and reliability. It works in banking and insurance industry, but is not desirable in food industry. It is not only suppressing appetite, blue is associated with decayed foods well. It is much more preferred in cleaning industry.

color blue meaning

Blue is the color of air and water

What does the color green mean?

Green is the color of freshness, health, hope, permission, renewal, safety and youth. The word green (in Germanic languages) has the same root as to grow and grass, what make  a strong association with nature. Medieval brides often wore green to symbolize fertility. It’s the most soothing color in visible spectra and has healing powers. It0s often used in hospitals. When the notorious Blackfriar Bridge in London was painted green, number of suicides dropped by more than 30 percent. Being the color of the banner of Muhammad, it’s the sign of respect and the most important color in Islam. Every Islamic country has some green in its flag.

Negative connotations of green: it can represent materialism and possessiveness. Green is color of jealousy and is color of envy, greed, selfishness. Green is widely associated with inexperience. It is a secondary color and can be made with mixing warm yellow with cold blue, what gives numerous different hues depending on percentage of both. Green is in the center of spectrum, thus represents balance, what makes it suitable for charities, real estates and financial industry aiming at steady growth of profits. Today it is widely used in food industry, where promotes organic products and everything environmentally friendly. Politics try to use it more and more as well.

green color meaning

Green is color of good luck

What does the color black mean?

Black is the color of authority, boldness, control, discipline, elegance, protection and strength. It’s also the color of evil, heaviness, night and witchcraft. Having the power of hiding things it is associated with barriers, emptiness and mysteries. Black is not a true color, it’s actually a mixture of all colors, what means it absorbs all the wavelengths. People wearing black appear thinner (in right combinations and patterns), but black objects look heavier and stronger. While black symbolizes the end, every ending is closely related with new beginning, thus making black the perfect match with white. In combination with yellow or orange it’s the popular warning sign in nature (stripes of the tiger or wasp).

Black has the most of the negative connotations of all colors. It is unfriendly color, it creates fear and people wearing black seem unapproachable. They say a salesman in black can make a lot of sales but no friends. People wearing black appear conservative and serious. It’s very suitable for judges and lawyers. After series of different historical and scientific events it became the color of high fashion. Little black dress and black tie are a must in fashion savvy wardrobes. Sexy black lingerie can create the feeling of mystery in bedroom just like the similar effect is achieved at priest at the altar. Black is also the color of death and mourning.

black color meaning

Black animals are considered as bad omens

The effect of colors is used in psychology and especially in marketing, but when we delve in history of colors, we soon realize the color psychology, with so many variables, it’s not an exact science, but rather kind of art.

Nautical Wedding

Why is Nautical Wedding Theme so Popular?

It’s wedding season, so it seems appropriate to spend more than one post on this important, although (at least lately) a bit old-fashioned subject. At our last meeting I was discussing about the average cost of wedding. Now I want to make one step further and go into details. I noticed themed weddings are becoming more and more popular. Some are related with certain sort of flowers (for instance roses, orchids, fleur-de-lis etc.), other on colors (for instance purple, yellow, pink etc.) and other on something else (for instance tropic, beach, etc.).

Nautical Wedding Theme is among these. I was wandering why, because I don’t think so many girls marry sailors. One obvious reason is probably combination of white (traditional color for weddings) and blue (symbolizes cleanness, purity) look really great and wedding day is of course one of those occasions when everybody wants to look great.

But there must be more. And there is. At least I think I have found more in symbolism of elements which are most often used on wedding themed decoration, favors, bridal showers, even cakes (!) and so on. So when you’ll get a themed invitation, you’ll already know what all the cute symbols mean. Here are only some, but probably enough to get the first grip:

Anchor – one of the most powerful symbols represents safety, stability, with an anchor boat is safely tied in a harbor, dangers are over and after stormy life of a bachelor it is time for new experience of marriage where the concerns are split and joys are multiplied.


Boat – it’s a symbol of traveling together, helping each other, sharing benefits and helping at accidents, what is especially clear from the saying: we are in this boat together, meaning: we are it this situation together, we are not enemies, if one goes down, everybody goes down, if one succeed, everybody succeed

Compass – it always carries the power of four cardinal directions, where east and west as the starting and ending point of the sun are the most important of all, because sun in all cultures represents life, hope, happiness, youth and immortality what can all be found in successful marriage.

nautical-wedding-favorsFish – being a water creature, it is immediately associated with mystery, inspiration, faith and transformation, but also with life and fertility; different religions have different perspective of fish, but it seems each one sees it as a very powerful and positive symbol, especially in Japan with Koi fish, energetic creatures, often swimming in pairs.


Knot – knots are tied with marriage forever, we all heard a saying about a wedding knot, which symbolizes connection, family, union and even immortality, knots as sort of protection with practical and aesthetic features have magical powers in many cultures and are of course essential par of every seaman’s education.


Lighthouse – lighthouse represents hope, safety and spiritual development, it is a sign of welcoming, guidance, positive expectations, expansion of social circles, it is also in relation with plans for the future, it promises new opportunities and calmer waters after the stormy and disorganized life of a single person.


Lobster – it symbolizes determination and strength, thanks to moulting lobster is also strongly associated with change and regeneration, and as predator we can connect it with protection and difficulties what can be fused into one, with marriage easily related word: challenge.

Map – look at nautical chart.

Mermaid – mermaids symbolize seduction, mysterious, often dangerous adventures for travelers and the promise of outrageous treasure to all who will be able to defy their charms and wisely use their powers in their favor, they are connected with beauty, love and persuasion.

Nautical chart – you don’t have to be an expert in symbolism with this one, it is clear that every voyage with a map stands much better chance for success than a simple trip without one, and marriage is exactly tha – a voyage, with many ups and downs, numerous curbs, unpredictable deadlocks, sometimes even without a clear goal, but always with a faithful companion to rely on.


Vintage chart by Walter Crane

Octopus – it is associated with creativity, flexibility and intelligence, what all is needed to survive in the sees and succeed in the marriage, thanks to eight tentacles it is also strongly connected with number eight, the number of power, so octopus was used for many centuries as a symbol of protection as well.

Seahorse – it has different meanings in different cultures but in general it is a very positive sign, related with friendliness, persistence and sharing, despite its fragile look it is also associated with strength and power, sailors consider it as a lucky charm.

Sextant – important tool for navigation, relation with marriage, if it is understood as a voyage, is obvious, maybe we could add Freemasons used a square and compasses with arch which looks like sextant, but is more universal tool, suitable only for skilled builders and was reserved for Past Masters only.

Shell – shell represents something enclosed, limited, can be explained as prison, but it also carries a huge potential, because after opening, shells also represent luxury (they were used as currency in many cultures and in some they still are) and protection (marriage is of course related with family and safety).

Ship (it is not the same as boat!) – travel, good news, material goods, romance, journey, one thing all ships have in common is their ability to pass through rivers, oceans and other waters, carrying their passengers and cargo, many religions associate sailing across the water with afterlife, so connection with ending of one kind of live and starting another, is clear.

Ship’s wheel – as every wheel it symbolizes constant change, movement, travel, but in this case it is also connected with control, ability to navigate among the reefs and find a safe harbor, what emphasizes personal responsibility to one’s own luck

Starfish – it symbolizes brilliance, guidance and healing powers, Egyptian religion associates it with goddess Isis, a guardian to seamen in troubles, Christianity with Virgin Mary, who is in charge of safety for travels, Romans with Venus, goddess of sensitivity and love.


Trident – it is a symbol of power of Greek god Poseidon (Roman god Neptune), who is the ruler of oceans and earthquakes, having three prongs makes it associated to trinity (several religions acknowledge trinity as divine) and superstitions (third time is the charm).

Waves – they symbolize emotions, and wedding can certainly be very emotional experience with complete spectra of feelings, on one side bride’s and groom’s family is loosing a daughter and a son, on the other new paths are opening to be traveled, new experiences, it’s time for crying because one era is ending and time to rejoice over new couple’s hopes and achievements.

Whale – whales symbolize great challenges, exploring the unknown, delving in deepest feelings and finding the ultimate truth, what can be done with skillful navigation and quality communication; with their strength they serve as consolation, protection and inspiration.


Now you know. Next nautical wedding invitation in your mail will bear no secrets to you!



Myths and Fairy Tales

Fairy Tale as Myth, Myth as Fairy Tale?

In one of my older posts, about Cupid and Psyche I already presented an old myth which can also be considered as one f the oldest fairy tales. The myth about Cupid and Psyche has been retold in many popular fairy tales and The Beauty and the Beast is most known of all.

amor and psyche picture

But this is not the only myth which could serve as a base to this particular fairy tale and its wider family of tales about animal grooms. I’ll provide graphic material and some common points for five (yes, one for each finger!) well known myths from Greek and roman mythology which could be easily recognized in main points of the tale about the Beauty and the Beast (of course I am talking about ‘original’, Madame LePrince de Beaumont, not the Disney’s version with pretty different point of view).

Beauty and the beast by anne anderson


1. Aphrodite and Hephaestus

Aphrodite is Greek goddess of love, pleasure and beauty (her name is Venus in roman mythology). She is very beautiful and won the infamous apple of discord leading to Trojan war.

Hephaestus (Vulcan in Roman myths) is god of artisans, blacksmiths and volcanoes. He was so ugly as a baby even his own mother rejected him.

Nice start for unusual romance, right?

Hephaestus and Aphrodite inspired hundreds of artist and here are some examples of their work:

hephaestus in his workplacevulcans-forge

Hephaestus in action by Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) on the left and by Diego Velazquez (1599-1660). He made a lot of impressive products, but most of artists were most fascinated with next scene:


It’s a classic love triangle with three powerful gods in the corners: Hephaestus as cheated husband, Aphrodite as unfaithful wife and Ares as her lover. Drawing by Schnorr von Carolsfeld (1794-1872). Of course the ‘in flagrante’ scene is even more attractive…


The left painting above is work of Alexandre Charles Guillemot (1786 – 1831) and the right is signed by Francois Boucher (1703–1770). Please note how artist tried to emphasize the contrast with portraying Aphrodite in very light and Hephaestus in very dark colors. This trend is obvious even in more ‘domestic scenes with the same characters.

vulcan and venusvenus is visiting vulcanvenus and vulcan tiepolo

Names of the artists from left to right: Pieter Thijs (1624–1677), David Teniers the Elder (1582–1649) and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696–1770). All three used the dark against light effect. In last case we can even notice Aphrodite is sitting on white cloud. This trend will be obvious in next myths related with the fairy tale about Beauty and the Beast too.

2. Acis and Galatea

Galatea is a sea-nymph, Acis is a son of Faunus and another sea-nymph. They are both beautiful and in love with each other. If we already have two Beauties, where is the Beast?

Polyphemus, Cyclop, known from encounter with Odyssey enters. Big, ugly, with only one eye, he suits the role of the Beast perfectly.


Polyphemus and Galatea painted by Gustave Moreau (1826-1898).

We have another love triangle, this time with two lovers and one ugly guy who wants the girl for himself. There are several version of this myth available, but Acis doesn’t survive any of them. Polyphemus trows a rock on him and Galatea turns blood from Acis’ body into river which is still called Acis. It is in Sicily, just like volcano called Etna. Polyphemus is very likely personification of this volcano. Big, ugly, with only one eye, remember?

acis-and-galatea-storyacis and galatea pictures

On the left: Johann Carl Loth (1632-1698), on the right: Francois Perrier (1590-1650). And another pair of paintings with Claude Lorrain (1600-1682) and Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665).

acis und galateaacis and galatea myth

In last two paintings the connection of the Cyclop with the volcano is obvious. All five paintings share light tones of ‘The Beauty’ and dark, sometimes almost camouflage colors for ‘The Beast’.

3. Zeus and Europa

In this story Zeus changes his appearance in bull (Beast) to charm Europa and it worked so well, he made her a queen of Crete…

europa and zeusthe rape of europa

On the left we can see very special illustration from very special illustrator Virginia Frances Sterrett (1900-1931). This is the first example of Beauty being portrayed in darker tones than the Beast. Although the myth clearly say Zeus turned himself in white bull, Frederik De Wit (1630-1706) managed to show him darker than the Beauty. And same stands with next four examples.

abduction of europathe abduction of europa

You don’t have to know the whole story to show who is the victim and who is the intruder in these paintings by Jean-Baptiste Marie Pierre (1714-1789) on the left or Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606–1669) on the right. We can’t continue without Tiziano Vecellio (cca1489–1576), more known as Titian who made the painting on the left and Peter Paul Rubens (1577 –1640) who copied it to make the result on the right:

zeus and europe by titianteus and europa by rubens

Colors are not the same, but Europa is obviously lighter than anything else on both paintings. europa and jupiter

To be fair, it seems Europa didn’t suffer too much in her role of her victim.

Let’s check the last painting. Work on the left is signed by Guido Reni (1575-1642).

She is still white, but her smile shows a lot too.

Just like in a fairy tale about the Beauty and the Beast.

Maybe she was a victim at first, but later things changed…

4. Apollo and Daphne

The myth about Apollo and Daphne is another interesting twist on the theme about Beauty and the Beast. Apollo insulted Eros who punished him with a lot of creativity. Apollo fell in love with nymph Daphne who couldn’t stand him. So Apollo chased her as we can see on the painting by Francesco Albani (1578–1660):

apollo chasing daphneThis scene of course inspired many artists…

apollo & daphne Peter Paul Rubensapollo and daphne by waterhousedaphne and apollo by lefevre

Artists from left to right: Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640), John William Waterhouse (1849–1917) and Robert Lefevre (1755–1830). But the chase is not the main point. This story becomes really charming after Daphne realizes she can’t escape. So she turns into a laurel tree! You may even notice first changes of this famous metamorphoses at her fingers, but these will become much more evident in next series:

apollo chasing daphne by benedetto lutiapollo and daphne by gianbattista tiepoloArtists: Benedetto Luti (1666–1724), Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696–1770) above and Paolo Veronese (1528–1588) and Antonio del Pollaiolo (1431–1498) below.

painting by Paolo Veronesepainting by Antonio del PollaioloHer transformations is obvious. We have more!

daphne apollo berninipainting by Carl Christian Klassmetamorphoses of daphne

Let’s name the painters from left to right: Jean-Etienne Liotard (1702–1789), Carl Christian Klass (1747–1793) and Antonio del Pollaiolo (1431–1498). While she is seeking for help at first two paintings, she looks pretty calm on the last one. She is safe now. Please note: painting by Liotard is actually painting made by famous sculpture made by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) who made even more famous sculpture of David.

O.K., back to Daphne’s metamorphoses. apollo-and-daphne-myth

She became a tree.

Apollo was still in love.

And he was god, remember?

So he made her a very special tree.

Just to celebrate his eternal love.

This is why laurel tree is evergreen!

Leaves of laurel and sad songs are still Apollo’s consolation…

5.  Hades and Persephone

Myth about Persephone in the role of Beauty is just another story which echoes through fairy tales. Hades is of course in the role of the Beast, but we can compare this myth with another fairy tale – about Little Red Riding Hood. Well, we can but we will not, because this post is starting to become too long and it is probably the best to see how painters saw the story…

Persephone by Dante Gabriel RossettiPersephone (Proserpina) by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882)

Yes, she was young and beautiful, goddess of fertility, but god of the Underworld (Hades) abducted her.  Ulpiano Checa (1860–1916) portrayed this scene in particularly spectacular way:

Abduction of Persephone by Ulpiano ChecaJust for the record, names of the horses are: Aethon, Alastor, Nycteus and Orphnaeus. Persephone is of course painted in whitish tones.

proserpina abducted by plutohades takes persephone

hades persephone rubensOn the left: Joseph Anton Koch (1768–1839), on the right from up to down: Friedrich Preller the Elder (1804–1878) and Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640). As you may notice there is another person involved. This is her mother Demeter, goddess of the harvest who managed to make a deal with Hades (who is probably the second most powerful god after Zeus). Persephone can return on Earth but only for part of the year, another part she has to spend in the Underworld. This is why we have seasons of the year. This is also how mythologists interpret the story about Red Riding Hood.

return of persephone by Frederic Leightonmarriage of persephone by henry siddons mowbray

The return of Persephone is portrayed by Frederic Leighton (1830–1896) and the marriage of Persephone by Henry Siddons Mowbray (1858–1928). Did Persephone love Hades eventually? We’ll never know!

But we do know the Beauty loved the Beast and this, my friends, is fine example of similarities and differences between myths and fairy tales.

Edmund Evans and Myles Birket Foster

Myles Birket Foster (1825-1899) and Edmund Evans (1826-1905) were among most prominent creators in the second half of 19 century. Birket Foster was probably most important water colourist of his time and Evans best engraver and most influential printer who should be credited as one of the fathers of the picture book as specific media. They both worked at Ebenezer Landells (1808-1860) as apprentices and formed lifelong friendship.

Although both extremely talented for engraving Evans and Birket Foster honed their skills in different directions. First became printer who wanted to produce quality books for the masses and was one of pioneers of color printing, second became painter and illustrator. Edmund Evans managed to take full advantage of chromoxylography, printing techinique which was initially developed for cheap serials but allowed pretty amazing results with clever usage of color mixing. Myles Birket Foster soon became interested in water coloring, but transferred his sense for details from engravings to painting canvas where he created totally new style which made him extremely popular.

This two important men collaborated at several projects and I decided to present two of the earliest.

First is the book written by another amazing person, Ida Pfeiffer (1797-1858). This lady from Vienna, Austria traveled to the countries and places where only most brave men dared to go. Just for reminder: we already presented some works of another interesting lady from the same era: Mary Louisa Molesworth, who also traveled a lot but used her experience to write romantic novels and moralistic stories for young ladies. Book, written by Ida Peiffer is different. It is classical travelogue. Visit to the Holy Land, Egypt, and Italy was published in 1852 by Ingram Cooke & Co., London. Birket Foster made illustrations and Evans engravings. These are the results:

jerusalem by birket foster



a visit to the holy land by ida pfeiffer

Title with credits


burial place at scutari by birket foster

Burial Place at Scutari


the dead dea by birket foster

The Dead Sea


mount carmel by birket foster

Mount Carmel


lebanon by birket foster



baalbec by birket foster



isthmus of suez by birket foster

Isthmus of Suez

We should note Myles Birket Foster traveled a lot too. His paintings were made all over the Europe (he especially liked Venice, Valley of Rhine and Swiss lakes) and North Africa.

One of his next collaborations with Evans has similar scenery with religious background. He was again illustrator and Evans wood engraver. The book is titled Sabbath Bells Chimed by Poets and it was published in 1856 by Bell and Daldy (London) and D. Appleton and Co. (New York). It is another presentation of Birket Foster’s love to landscapes and Evans’ printing skills. It’s a collection of poems by various authors, all related with Sundays, prayer and contemplation.

sabbath-bells the-sabbath-1 sabbath-morning a-churchyard-scene sunday-walks the-sabbath-2 the-church-bells the-village-church the-sunday-mornings-walk the-sunday-evenings-walk sunday the-sabbath-bells a-winter-sabbath-walk the-beauties-of-natureMain complaint to Birket Foster’s work is probably idealized presentation of nature but we have to admit his sense for details is astonishing. These early projects of Edmund Evans and Myles Birket Foster are relatively hard to find in good condition, so if you find one of fist editions in your attic, handle it with care. It just might be several hundred or even thousand dollars worth…

Now you know!