British Art

John Anster Fitzgerald  

English Fairy Artist and Illustrator

(1823-1906)

Fitzgerald was a painter whose true vocation was in fairy painting, and his series of 'dream' paintings, in which sleepers are plagued by hideous creatures from fairyland, give an indication of where he found the images for his fantastic world. Of all fairy paintings, Fitzgerald's have the most overt references to drug-induced hallucinations.

John Fitzgerald - The Nightmare

A girl writhes in anguish on her bed, the wreath that she wears in the background sequence having fallen twisted on her pillow. Her ghostly figure is shown enacting three episodes of gathering menace among a band of revellers, in 17th century costume, some of whom are masked. First she is shown under a full moon, embracing a lover; the second episode shows her being waylaid by two masked figures with swords; lastly she turns away from a kneeling man, while another man with a sword and a masked woman flee away to the left. Lying on her bed, she has changed from the flimsy white costume of her ghostly apparition into a heavily embroidered Turkish jacket and voluminous striped silk sash of brilliant colours which falls on to the bed with the fringe reaching the floor, looking like a wound with a pool of blood running down. Around her bed goblins offer drinks from a steaming bowl, the drinks are red ad yellow, matching the liquid in two medicine bottles on the table by the bed. A goblin hovering over her prone figure bows obsequiously. A goblin band, barely indicated in thin paint, plays by the bed.

   

   

John Fitzgerald - Rabbit Among the Fairies