Byatt talks fairies at Dulwich

A.S. Byatt has written this review of The Age of Enchantment exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery (phone: 020-8693 5254) which takes place from 28th November to 17 February 2008. The illustrations are include works the 1890s to the 1930s, the Golden Age of book illustration, and show the variety of ways that the faerie world have been portrayed by artists like Aubrey Beardsley, Arthur Rackham and so on. As she alludes, that period was in the Golden Age of children’s literature with the work of E Nesbit, JM Barrie and  Kenneth Grahame, all of which have a dark heart despite their upbeat surfaces.

It seems to be a salient point that we are losing touch again with the actual fabric of the land, that somehow the natural beliefs therein have become dormant again, and this exhibition reminds us of those. It also, however, delivers on the darker aspects.

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