Margaret Tarrant illustrates Anderson’s Fairy Tales

Margaret  Tarrant

Margaret Winifred Tarrant was born in Battersea, London, England, on 19th August, 1888.  She was an English illustrator and children’s author, who specialised in children’s and religious subjects.

Her first success came when she was just twenty. This was the publication of an edition of Charles Kingsley’s The Water Babies (1908). From this point onwards, Tarrant continued to produce high-quality illustrations and prints.


From ‘The Waterbabies’, 1908

Tarrant followed The Water Babies with a number of other well-received works, including the Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen (1910), Robert Browning’s The Pied Piper of Hamelin (1912), A Picture Birthday Book for Boys and Girls (1915) and Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland (1916). She also exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1914 and 1927, as well as with the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists.

Anderson’s Fairy Tales, 1921. MDHS Collection 500/042
Frontispiece, ‘Anderson’s Fairy Tales”, 1921,. MDHS Collection 500/042

During the twenties, Tarrant was instrumental in helping popularise illustrations of fairies. She also became associated with the fine art collective known as ‘the Medici Society’.  Many of her postcards, calendars and children’s books were published by this organisation.

She continued this work well into the early 1950s. She also produced postcards, calendars and many print reproductions of her artwork.  Some of Tarrant’s best-known prints are ‘The Piper of Dreams’ and ‘He Prayeth Best’.

‘He prayeth best who loveth best’ by Margaret Tarrant