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Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairy Bookby Brian Froud and Terry Jones
Winner of the Hugo Award for Original Artwork in 1995.
Synopses & Reviews
The publishing sensation of the Edwardian age was the photograph of a small girl surrounded by fairies that appeared in The Regular magazine in 1907 — the so-called Cottington hoax. While the child in the picture was known to be Angelica, only daughter of Lord Cottington of Bovey, its authenticity was hotly debated. Now at last we have the truth about the photograph, and the whole extraordinary story behind it.
You are holding the evidence in your hands — an exact reproduction of Angelica Cottington's Pressed Fairy Book, including the handwritten diary of her collecting exploits and other fairy-related incidents in her remarkable life. It all began twelve years before the publication of the notorious photograph...
July 6th 1895. Nanna wuldnt bleive me. Ettie wuldnt bleive me. Auntie Mercy wuldnt bleive me. But I got one. Now theyv got to bleive me.
Even as a small child Angelica understood the importance of evidence. It's not enough to have seen something — you've got to be able to prove it. As her diary reveals, the future Lady Cottington's technique for collecting fairies became — like her literary style — more sophisticated over the years. However, the pattern of her lifelong hobby — indeed, of her life — was settled the very first time she snapped her book shut.
Aug 10th 1896. I new ther was faereys behind the potting shed. So I went and sat very still with my book open on my lap and the faereys was curius and inkwizitf and they all came round to look at me and one landed on my book and I went SNAP! I banged the book shut and I cort the faerey it is a reelly bewtiful one. I like it best.
Who could fail to share her pride and exhilaration over such delightful trophies? Nothing could be more charming than these dainty little creatures, caught either literally on the wing or having just alighted on the page. Others, it is true, have a more malevolent aspect, sometimes even angry expressions, almost as if they resented the little girl's fun...
Reading her engagingly innocent account, we learn how the fairies entered her life; how they led her on a merry dance; and how the fairies prevented her from marrying. For truly, Lady Cottington is the victim in this astonishing story, however sorry one may feel for the poor little creatures captured so emphatically between the pages of her book.
Not that any cruelty was involved. The publisher wishes to make it absolutely clear that there is no proof whatsoever that fairies can feel pain, apart from the purely anecdotal evidence of the high-pitched shrieks etc. recorded by Lady Cottington herself. Besides, no less an authority than the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Fairies confirms, in an unusual disclaimer, that these images are in fact psychic impressions, not, as they appear to be, all too physical ones, including bodily fluids.
Be that as it may, we are all in Lady Cottington's debt. Thanks to her childhood discovery and her remorseless search — her obsession, if you like — we have not only irrefutable evidence of the existence of fairies but also a rainbow gallery of exquisite, iridescent, albeit somewhat battered-looking fairies.
Of course everyone is familiar with the famous photograph of the small girl surrounded by faeries, which caused such a sensation when it was first published in The Regular magazine in 1907. It inspired many imitations and was circulated around the world.
While some sceptics dismissed it as a hoax, it was hailed in many quarters as the final, irrefutable proof of the existence of faeries. However, little was known about the young girl shown in the photograph...
Lady Angelica Cottington was ridiculed after her secret photo of the faeries became the latest gossip around town. These creatures were making her life unbearable! Just because her hobby was pressing faeries instead of flowers, does not justify the torture her friends, peers, family and those pesky faeries have put her through!
Join Lady Cottington on her journey into the World of Faery during the Victorian Era!
A reproduction of the diary of Lady Angelica Cottingham, which features pressed garden fairies. Or rather the psychic images of the fairies, who quickly turned it into a game, where they leapt between the closing pages in an effort to outdo each other to produce the most outrageous poses.
"July 6th 1895. Nanna wuldnt bleive me. Ettie wuldnt bleive me. Auntie Mercy wuldn't bleive me. But I got one. Now theyv got to blieve me." What young Angelica Cottington "got" was...a fairy. And, you are holding the evidence in your hands! It really happened--a hoax perpetrated by two girls who claimed to have photographed actual "fairies"; among the people caught up in the popular hysteria were Arthur Conan Doyle (who fell for it) and Harry Houdini (who did not). Now, this remarkable parody, written by a former member of the Monty Python troupe, takes a sly look at what happened in a fashion that's riotously witty, visually extraordinary, and wildly original. In every respect, this "handwritten diary" captures the look of the age--though the fairies, it is true, do sometimes have a more malevolent aspect than one might expect...A fresh--and funny--take on the true story that inspired two movies.
About the Author
Terry Jones is perhaps best known as a scriptwriter and member of the Monty Python team. He is a highly successful performer, writer, and director for film, radio, and television with classics such as Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Life of Brian, and The Meaning of Life to his name. He played the role of the irascible Toad in his most recent film, The Wind in the Willows, for which he wrote the screenplay and also directed. Terry Jones has also received widespread acclaim for his hilarious award-winning children's books.
Brian Froud is a popular and highly acclaimed artist whose imaginative portrayals of fantasy worlds and people in particular are recognized world wide. He worked on Jim Henson's fantasy films and illustrated the best-selling Fairies and Goblins of the Labyrinth. His most recent book is the acclaimed Good Fairies/Bad Fairies.
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