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"Fairies Rescuing a Bird"
Margaret Tempest, 1920-1925
The Victoria & Albert Museum
Margaret Tempest (1892-1982), the celebrated English illustrator, began her career in the 1920s and became known as the creator of the beloved children’s book characters “Little Grey Rabbit” and “Fuzzypeg the Hedgehog.” The stories were written by Alison Uttley with illustrations by Margaret Tempest whose drawings graved the first thirty stories from 1929 until 1970.
Uttley and Tempest often debated between themselves about which of them could take the most credit for the success of the characters. However, it wasn’t the usual artistic struggle. In fact, each credited the other for the creation of the characters who had become household names.
Most agree, however, that the stories were given a special kind of life because of Tempest’s subtle watercolor drawings.
Here’s an interesting example of Margaret Tempest’s delicate work. In this watercolor, pen and ink drawing, we see fairies attempting to rescue a bird from a basket work cage. The artist’s gentle hand shows in the tones of the fairies’ wings and her ability to capture a moment of effort makes the painting seem as if we have been given a glance into a new world.
The drawing dates between 1920 and 1925.