Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Ernst Kreidolf's illustrations for Der traumgarten - The Dream Garden - Switzerland 1912


I was introduced to Ernst Kreidolf's illustrations by Christa. She told me about his work after I had featured a Cicley Mary Barker flower fairy video on one of my posts.
Ernst's illustrations are not sweet and pretty like Cicely's but have a mystical, surreal, quality to them. However, all of his flowers, butterflies and insects are real and very recognisable. 
Whilst I was looking at Ernst's illustrations Burl Ives song from The Ugly Bug Ball kept playing in my head

  Once a lonely caterpillar sat and cried,
to a sympathetic beetle by his side.
"I`ve got nobody to hug,
I`m such an ugly bug." 

Then a spider and a dragon fly replied,
"If you`re serious and want to win a bride,
come along with us,
to the glorious
annual ugly bug ball." 

Come on let`s crawl
gotta crawl, gotta crawl
to the ugly bug ball
to the ball, to the ball
and a happy time we`ll have there
one and all
at the ugly bug ball

While the crickets clicked their tricky melodies
all the ants were fancy-dancing with the fleas
then up from under the ground
the worms came squirming around

Oh they danced until there legs were nearly lame
every little crawling creature you could name
everyone was glad
what a time they had
they were so happy they came

Everyone was glad! What a time they had!
they were so happy they came! 

Come on let`s crawl
gotta crawl, gotta crawl
to the ugly bug ball
to the ball, to the ball
and a happy time we`ll have there
one and all!
at the ugly bug ball. 

Then our caterpillar saw a pretty queen
she was beautiful in yellow, black and green
he said, "Would you care to dance?"
their dancing led to romance. 

and she sat upon his caterpillar knees
and he gave his caterpillar queen a squeeze
soon they`ll honeymoon
build a big cocoon
thanks to the ugly bug ball 

Come on let`s crawl
Gotta crawl, gotta crawl,
to the ugly bug ball
to the ball, to the ball
and a happy time we`ll have there
one and all!
at the ugly bug ball!


Ernst Kreidolf born 1863 - 1956 in Germany, an illustrator and poet but moved to Switzerland during WWl. Whilst he produced lifelike portraits, his work illustrating flowers, insects and butterflies are what he is best remembered for. He created a world in which every plant is animated and every garden inhabited by kindly generous fairies.

This is the caterpillar garden of Herr Hermelin, the white moth on the lefthand side. He visits the pen every morning before breakfast so that he can admire the caterpillars wonderful colours and designs and stroke their backs. He wants to be sure that his beauties are getting their favourite vegetation and feeding well. Although the gaudy caterpillars look as if they must be products of the illustrator's imagination, all of them are actually found in nature. Notice the dung beetle going about his business!!! and the insect flicking water over the caterpillars using a dandelion seed head.
The ringmaster wears Tiger Moths wings - Tiger Moth's bodies are very brown and furry like a bear
Solomon's seal and deep pink columbine both of which live in my garden. Without actually knowing the story it is difficult to understand exactly what is going on here.
Love in a mist - a flower I featured in a quiz
Shepherds purse - I used to love finding these heart shaped seeds when young. I am assuming that the young girl is learning the ropes from the senior Shepherdess.
I would love to find the book and read the stories, but  so far it has eluded me

46 comments:

  1. Hello Rosemary, Anthropomorphizing of flowers and insects has a long history, from the verse of Erasmus Darwin to the nonsense drawings of Edward Lear to the bizarre animated films of Ladislaw Starewich. These examples by Kreidolf are unusually delicate, containing a gentle humor that never approaches the point of satire or ridicule.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - I would really like to view these illustrations in person because there are so many little details that are lost on the computer - for example the four little insects playing brass instruments and two banging drums on the last illustration, along with a glamorous female flying insect being rowed in a pod and some beetles sailing by in walnut halves with small butterflies for boat sails.

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    1. The devil is in the detail with these delightful illustrations

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  3. Oh I liked these very much! Will have to go and look at more of his work.

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    1. Thank you - I am so pleased that you enjoyed being introduced to his work Mac n' Janet.

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  4. Magical! I adore the caterpillar garden. Such imagination, humor and high drama!! Thanks for sharing these, Rosemary. I think all gardeners will fall in love with these.

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    1. Thank you Loi - it is good fun trying to name all the different flower fairies. I am not so hot on the different butterflies and insects names. Sometimes a fairy catches you out, you know what it is but just cant quite put your finger on the name of the flower.

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  5. Thank you for sharing these images, they are a delight, and not without a tiny element of truth.
    Jean
    x

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    1. If only I knew the story that accompanies the illustrations I wouldn't be at all surprised if are correct.

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  6. Hello Rosemary,
    I read your post earlier this morning. The dogs started to make such a noise.. i then got involved in housework and sorting them out.
    I love these images..The sketches.. there is a little story of life in each of them.!
    You have explained it so well.
    val x

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    1. I am endeavouring to find the book in English as I really want to see a closer view of the illustrations and read the text that goes with them.
      I am pleased that you liked the images Val.

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    2. I looked on Amazon. Take a peak.. I didnt notice if it was English.
      I am sure they will have it. x

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    3. I did find one on Amazon but it is in German and very expensive. Someone else has suggested Abebooks, thanks Val.

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  7. Dear Rosemary,

    This is such an enchanting post and just perfect for my sense of aesthetics. I too would love to have a book of these illustrations. Very much so. We have a rough equivalent of this artist, and just as beguiling in France. Have you seen Les Fleurs animées by J.J. Grandville? Whether you have or not I'd love to know what you think.

    Stephanie

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    1. Dear Stephanie - Les Fleurs animées by J.J. Grandville was unknown to me, so I have just been googling him and discovered his charming mix of satirical and poetic illustrations. I see parallels between his work and Ernst Kreidolf's illustrations they both have wonderful details within their work, the more you look the more you discover. I shall be going back to Grandville's illustrations now you have introduced me to them and taking another look. Thank you so much♡

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  8. These are charming, Rosemary. I think I mentioned before that my mother had a similar book called "Flower Children." I always liked looking at the page with the dandelions. It had the yellow dandelion as a child, blowing away the hair of an elderly dandelion, and they were represented very much in the vein of the New Year's baby and Father Time. I wish I had the book to blog about, but it's long gone . . .

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    1. Dear Mark - I wonder if the book you remember was by Elizabeth Gordon - Flower Children, The Little Cousins of the Field and Garden. I found illustrations on Google and the Dandelion is just as you describe.
      Take a look here:-
      https://archive.org/details/flowerchildrenli0gordo
      You can buy it here:-
      http://www.amazon.com/Flower-Children-Little-Cousins-Garden/dp/1557090866
      I found a copy of a first edition for sale but it was very expensive.
      Good luck, a blog post might still be a possibility.

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    2. Yes! This is the book that I remember, and why didn't I think to Goole it as you did?! I've just now look through all the pages, and they bring back a lot of lovely memories — mostly of my mother.

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful effort!

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    3. Dear Mark - It is lovely that seeing the illustrations brought back childhood memories of your mother.
      I was also trying to find the Ernst Kreidolf book which I did eventually. Unfortunately it was a 1979 English 'first edition' and was very, very expensive. I really could not justify to myself spending so much money just so that I could read the text and look more closely at the illustrations.

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    1. Pleased that you enjoyed seeing them Amy♡

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  10. I like all the illustrations. My imagination gets moving. I hope you find the book Rosemary.
    Regards, Margaret.

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    1. I have discovered that it was reprinted in English in the 1950s so I have hopes of finding it.

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  11. Very strange and surreal, and I hadn't heard of him. I'll look out for him - although I prefer CM Barker's fairies, not because they are sweet but because she is so technically accomplished. There are some ads for something or the other that I saw on the tube the other day which use sub Cicely Mary Barker flower fairy pictures, and they annoy me because the drawing really isn't as good!

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    1. Oh! I agree, I hate it when someone uses an accomplished piece of work and violates it - it is disrespectful especially when the owner of the work is not here to protest.

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  12. I meant to say I particularly like the boat with the butterfly wing sail - wonderful!

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    1. I love the way Ernst has used the butterfly wings for the sails as well, and I especially like the one where a butterfly is supporting the mast and is also the sail. That is the reason I want to get the book if I can find it so that I can check out all the subtle nuances in the illustrations more easily.

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  13. What an enchanting world of small critters and plants! Caterpillar garden is so unique. I like the illustrations both little children and adult can enjoy and set fire on our imagination to tell a story. We have enjoyed mostly the ones by Japanese and by Hilda Boswell so far. Thanks for sharing, Rosemary.

    Yoko

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    1. Dear Yoko - Thank you, now I have been introduced to another fairy illustrator through you. Hilda Boswell was unknown to me, but I have just looked at her delightful work on Google.

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  14. I love these illustrations! Very enchanting. Always wonderful to be enthralled by an artists I have not previously known. Thank you to you and to Christa too. x

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    1. Now I just need to try and trace a copy of the book so that I know what the story is all about. I only know snippets of it. I understand that it was published in English during the 1950s so will try and track one down.

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  15. Wonderful illustrations, I didn't know Ernst Kreidolf , but I love his beautiful creativity , light and delightful !

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    1. There are lots of little details within each illustration - the more you look the more you see.

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  16. Dear Rosemary,
    thank you for bringing attention to Ernst Kreidolf, who was totally new for me - so interesting! Of course I have many flower fairies' books by Cicely Mary Barker - but Kreidolf seems to be different, as you point out.

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    1. Dear Britta - I had lots of Flower Fairy books when I was a child but sadly they are now lost in the mists of time.

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  17. Beautiful illustrations Rosemary. I will see if I can find the book for you on one of my vintage trips. I enjoyed the lyrics of the ugly bug ball :-)

    Madelief x

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    1. That is very kind of you Madelief - the lyrics just popped into my head as I was looking at the illustrations and seem to fit.

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  18. Gardens are so special and this is a beautiful imagination at work. It's what I hope happens in my garden in secret (like teddy-bears coming to life when we sleep).

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    1. The illustrations bring out the child's lost imagination in us all.

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  19. I would have loved these lovely illustrations as a child - there's something irresistible about the invention of clothes from petals and wings.
    And now I have an "earworm" - The Ugly Bug Ball!

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    1. I really wanted The Ugly Bug Ball to play whilst looking at the post, but couldn't figure out how to do it.

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  20. Enchanting sketches...love this!
    Cheers!
    Linda :o)
    ps....we say "red sky at night,sailors delight"
    "red sky in morning...sailor take warning"
    How funny that we say it differently!

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    1. Yes, we say the same thing but use different occupations.

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  21. And I say lovely, lovely, lovely! Love this post....
    Titti

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