‘The Fairy Queen Takes an Airy Drive’. 1870. Plate 13. Coloured wood engraving by Edmund Evans.8 x 11¾ inches. This is one of the finest, most delicate of Doyle’s fairy designs, conveying the weightlessness of the butterflies and their entourage by contrasting the repeating pattern of the insects’ wings, which dominate the composition as they are moved up to the top margin, with the horizontal of the landscape. Doyle also uses a palette of light blues, yellows, ochres, green and red to animate the scene; the arabesque of the Queen’s gossamer robe further energizes the moment by suggesting movement through the air. Originally created in watercolour and ink, the published design is a brilliant piece of wood-engraving, executed in perfect register by Edmund Evans. [Click on image to enlarge it.]

Photograph and text by Simon Cooke. You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link to this URL in a web document or cite it in a print one.


Doyle, Richard, and William Allingham. In Fairyland. London: Green and Co., 1870 [1869].

Created 10 September 2021