Saturday, April 13, 2013

Awesome cover of "The Three Bears" with Margaret Tarrant illustration

I love the cover illustration on this undated hardcover copy of "The Three Bears" from Whitman Publishing Co. (Best guess is that it's from the 1910s or 1920s.) The illustration looks like the tale of Goldilocks, as envisioned by Henry Darger. Or, at least, that's how it seems to my mind.

The illustrator, as noted in the lower-right corner, is actually Margaret Winifred Tarrant. She was a British artist who specialized, according to Wikipedia, "in depictions of fairy-like children and religious subjects." (That also ties her, thematically, to Darger.) Interestingly, in a search of Google images, I found a different book version of "The Three Bears" that features a similar illustration by Tarrant, from a different angle. Goldilocks is even wearing the same dress!

Here are the two covers, side by side:

Inside my book, the longer title of this slender volume is "The Story of the Three Bears and Other Stories." The other stories are The Fairy Shoemaker and The Stories of Billy Possum.

The title page has an inscription that states "To Alta's cousin from Billie H."


  1. The cover with the red title block could be more like 1890. My grandfather's copy of this book was given to him in 1892. It is the same stories you mentioned. I've seen several color illustrations she did for this story, but don't know if they were ever used in actual books or just others in a series. She did the line drawings inside this book, too, it appears to me.

  2. Oops - sorry. Mixed up two books. It was to my mother probably in the 1920s, so you're estimate is probably right. Also, since Tarrant was born in 1888, stands to reason 1892 was wrong wrong wrong!