The VV possesses an ancient and battered copy of this book; one that is so well-thumbed and worn that not a single page remains still attached to the crumbling spine. But that does not detract from the pleasure and inspiration it gives, mainly due to the Victorian illustrations that Iona and Peter Opie selected to embellish the stories within this collection.

How often the heroines in these tales are sleeping and unaware of the world - such as in this image of Snow White...

Or this seductive engraving that shows the Sleeping Beauty...

And this somewhat more anodine version where, despite the presence of the prince about to give the fair maiden a kiss, her appearance and demeanour is somewhat less sensual...

 Another bed scene - this time a birth, though such an event could hardly have involved much pain - shows the arrival of tiny Tom Thumb...

Whereas this delightfully imagined child in the form of Little Red Riding Hood may well be about to experience a somewhat more gruesome experience...

And finally in today's post, with the pantomime season upon us now, here are some pictures to demonstrate the enduring appeal of Puss in Boots...

However the darkness and danger that simmers in many fairy tales is not to be under-estimated, as illustrated in the guise of this sharp-taloned highwayman.

Elijah's Mermaid by Essie Fox contains many references to classic Victorian fairy tales and the horrors in Penny Dreadfuls.


  1. Wonderful - wasn't aware of the Opie Fairy Tales, have the Nursery Rhymes one, constantly opened - also, have you read Angela Carter's Puss in Boots script, rather delicious really


  2. Great book, constantly return to it.

  3. Thank you! Velvet Nap, I was planning an Angela Carter post next!

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