‘A Serenade’. One of three vignettes on Plate 11. 1870. Coloured wood engraving by Edmund Evans. 4 x 4½ inches. Doyle visualizes his little folks in romantic terms, with a strong emphasis on courtly or devotional love. This image depicts a typical piece of love-making, with the besotted elf kissing his beloved’s hair. The effect, though, is comedic, and could be read as a parody of the Pre-Raphaelite obsession with the worship of the idealized beauty. Doyle endows his female with a facial expression somewhere between complacency and boredom; as usual, his imagery is ambivalent, an amusing play on adult, rather than childish behaviour. In other designs he represents the emotional impact of rejection on male suitors. [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