by Cicely Mary Barker
I’m joining Jain with my Edible Book Review at Food for Thought, a delicious blog for readers with an appetite for the written word.
Fairyopolis is the secret fairy journal of Cicely Mary Barker, recorded during a magical summer of 1920 ~ a delightful book for the young at heart. . . complete with illustrations, bits of fairy relics hidden under postcards, photos & fold-outs~ along with a sample of fairy dust :)
This book inspired me to set a table and join Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday as part of this Edible Review~ recreating a forest floor where fairies might be found.
Arriving at a friends’ summer home in Storrington, Sussex, England~ Cicely plans to paint and garden, surrounded by meadows filled wildflowers. On her arrival, she discovers this tranquil haven is surrounded by flower fairies. Cicely chronicles her discoveries, illustrating and compiling evidence of fairies in her journal. . . from tiny foot prints, to enchanting music; fairy wings~delicate and butterfly-like, to fairy dust. It is a summer that she opens herself up to a whole new world~ unseen but often imagined.
Flower Fairies can be found in your garden, the meadow or forest tree tops & floors where they play and care for flowers and trees.
Only True Believers can see Flower Fairies:)
I set a table with my brown matelasse coverlet and sprinkled pinecones, acorns, moss & lichen, and various pods for a fairy-like forest floor. Leaf motif plates & napkins along with woven chargers add to the fall forest atmosphere~
Suspend your disbelief and enter the Flower Fairies’ magical realm~ you can see Cicely’s beautifully illustrated fairies here.
While Flower Fairies follow a code and hold certain values in high esteem with one another, the more mischievous fairies are known to rain acorns, nuts & berries down on the heads of unsuspecting humans :)
Tread gently there may be a fairy afoot ~
A sudden twittering of birds, when walking by a tree may be a warning signal to alert the fairies to your presence. Fairies do not like humans venturing too close to their homes and their feathered friends help by alerting them.
Cicely remarks in her journal: “Apparently fairies deplore being investigated by humans; they hate any kind of ‘prying’.”
Cicely Mary Barker was born in West Croydon, Surrey, a small town near London, England in 1895. As a child she suffered from epilepsy and as a result was physically frail and unable to attend school. Cicely’s father, an artist himself, encouraged her artistic talent, enrolling her at Croydon Art Society when she was thirteen years old and paying for a correspondence course, which she continued until 1919.
At the age of sixteen, she had her first work accepted for publication as a set of postcards, which prompted her to devote her career to painting.
Cicely was influenced by the popular interest in fairies which developed from the Victorian enthusiasm for fairy stories and the immense popularity of J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan in the early part of the 20th century. Published in 1923, her first book, Flower Fairies of the Spring, was well received by a post-industrial, war-weary public who were charmed by her vision of hope and innocence.
She preferred to use real-life child models for her fairy paintings~ most models coming from the kindergarten her sister Dorothy ran in the back room of the home where they lived. She would have the child pose with the particular blossom, twig, or flower to accurately depict the texture and form of the plant, enlarging the flower to make it the same size at the child.
Always botanically accurate, Cicely’s flowers were painted from nature. If she could not find a flower close at hand, she enlisted the help of staff at Kew Gardens, who would often visit with specimens for her to paint.
“Many trees are significant to fairies. In particular Oak, Ash and Thorn.”
Bowls of Fairy Nectar~
Acorn cups brimming with morning dew :)
“Towards the end of my walk I came upon a mysterious-looking circle of long dark grass, dotted here and there with mushrooms. I believe it to be a fairy ring.”
Fairy Ring Marzipan Mushrooms, along with assorted leaf confections~
I ran across this beautiful box of confections at Home Goods, made in Italy just for the Flower Fairies~
“Fairies appreciate the following: Sweet delicacies such as fruit, jam and cake. . .”
So combining fairy love for fruit & cake, I made an Applesauce Pear Cake with Caramel Sauce.
I found a Nordic Ware Harvest Basket Pan recently at Walmart~ on the Nordic Ware website it’s referred to as a Fancy Marianne Pan.
Applesauce Pear Cake
1 fresh pear, peeled, chopped and mashed
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. rum extract
Grease and flour pan; set aside. In large bowl, combine all cake ingredients; blend 2 minutes on medium speed, scraping bowl often. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 40- 45 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven until toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan; invert onto cooling rack.
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup butter
1/2 dark brown sugar
1 tsp. rum extract
To make caramel sauce: Combine all sauce ingredients in heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking occasionally. cover and continue to boil for 1 minute. Uncover and boil for 3 to 4 more minutes without stirring. Cool slightly before drizzling over warm cake. Serve cake warm with seasonal fruit and whipped cream.