Children Illustrators Kay Nielsen Elder Tree Mother Andersen Antique Print
Children Illustration The Elder Tree Mother from The Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen illustrator Kay Nielsen
"And in the midst of the tree sat an old, Pleasant-looking woman in a strange dress..."
Original Gravure Process print after Kay Nielsen (1886 -1957)
Published London, 1924
Kay Nielsen was born in Copenhagen. His mother is said to have read old Norse stories to him when young. It would seem these stories impacted his later illustrative imagination.
Elder Tree Mother Folklaw: The Elder Mother is thought to be the guardian of the elder trees, and it was said, until recent times in various parts of England and Scandinavia that to take wood from the elder tree one would have to ask the Elder Mother first, or else ill luck would befall the woodsman. The woodsman would have to ask the Elder Mother like so: "Old girl, give me some of thy wood and I will give thee some of mine when I grow into a tree."
In Denmark, an elder twig put in the mouth was traditionally thought to drive out evil spirits and thus could cure toothache. Also in Denmark, if you were to stand under an elder on Midsummer's Eve you could see the Elf-king and his host. A similar tradition existed in Scotland. In England, it was thought that the elder tree could never be hit by lightning and that carrying the twigs of an elder could protect their bearer from rheumatism. Farmers used to protect their animals from evil by placing a cross made from elder on their cow-sheds and barns. In some Slavic countries, such as Russia, it is thought that the tree had the power to ward off evil. In Sicily, it was claimed to have the power to ward off snakes. In 1936 Nielsen and his wife settled in Los Angeles, with occassion involvement with movie set design, one being "Fantasia". He Worked with Walt Disney also. The You Tube videos linked to his illustrations would not be alien to him (well, maybe the 3D versions!)
Size of Gravure image = 14.8 x 20 cm / 5.9 x 8 inch Condition = Excellent
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