Cicely Mary Barker

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Cicely Mary Barker (28 June 1895 – 16 February 1973) was an English illustrator best known for a series of fantasy illustrations depicting fairies and flowers. Barker's art education began in girlhood with correspondence courses and instruction at the Croydon School of Art. Her earliest professional work included greeting card and juvenile magazine illustrations, and her first book, Flower Fairies of the Spring, was published in 1923. Similar books were published in the following decades.

Barker was a devout Anglican, and donated her artworks to Christian fundraisers and missionary organizations. She produced a few Christian-themed books such as The Children’s Book of Hymns and, in collaboration with her sister Dorothy, He Leadeth Me. She designed a stained glass window for St. Edmund's Church, Pitlake, and her painting of the Christ Child, The Darling of the World Has Come, was purchased by Queen Mary.

Barker was equally proficient in watercolour, pen and ink, oils, and pastels. Kate Greenaway and the Pre-Raphaelites were the principal influences on her work. She claimed to paint instinctively and rejected artistic theories. Barker died in 1973. Though she published Flower Fairy books with spring, summer, and autumn themes, it wasn't until 1985 that a winter collection was assembled from her remaining work and published posthumously.

Contents

Biography

Early life

Barker was born the second daughter and last child of Walter Barker, a partner in a seed supply company and an amateur artist, and his wife Mary Eleanor (Oswald) Barker on 28 June 1895 at home at 66 Waddon Road in Croydon, Surrey, England. Barker was an epileptic as a child, and cared for at home by her parents. Later, her sister and elder by two years, Dorothy Oswald Barker, continued the care.[1]

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