Friday 23 September 2011

Fairy Tales and Fairy Cakes

This week we visited the Flower Fairies and Dark Tales exhibition taking place at Mottisfont in Hampshire. The exhibition features over fifty original artworks depicting tales of mischief and enchantment, from the kindly flower fairies to malevolent spirits. I can’t show you any of the original Cicely Mary Barker artwork because cameras are banned. I can, however, tell you it is well worth a visit.

The exhibition offers glimpses of both the expected and the unexpected, innocence and light is depicted in the thirty original watercolours from Cicely Mary Barker’s world-famous Flower Fairies collection and on a separate floor, two rooms are set aside for the darker side of fairies.

One of the highlights is the specially commissioned work by Tessa Farmer entitled The Skullship and the Galls. This work is housed within ‘the secret cupboard’ and consists of material gathered at Mottisfont.  

Several ‘Fairy Gatherings’ were held during the summer holidays with enchanted face painting, magical storytelling and fairy cakes for those who dressed up as fairies.

There are many layers of history to explore at Mottisfont, including the Gothic remains of the original 13th-century Augustinian priory.

In the mid-20th century the final private owner, society hostess and patron of the arts Maud Russell, turned the abbey into a weekend retreat for her artistic friends, and Mottisfont became a place of relaxation and creativity.

Today you can stroll by the fast-flowing river test, enjoy beautiful gardens, and explore the unusual house and art gallery.

Mottisfont's walled garden is famous for its old-fashioned shrub roses interplanted with herbaceous perennials. Until 1914, however, it was used for the purpose for which it was built - the production of fruit, vegetables and flowers for the house. The area known today as the Rose Garden, with its central pond and quartered layout, was the old kitchen garden, the walls covered in fruit-laden trees with more planted in the open ground and in the northern section.

The Flower Fairies and Dark Tales exhibition runs until the 2nd of October, 2011. Further information and opening times can be found at The National Trust Website.


  1. How absolutely wonderful! I would love to see this exhibit and such beautiful grounds.

  2. Hello Donna, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I'm sure you would too. If you visit the UK you will have to add Mottisfont to your ‘must see’ list. The Flower Fairies exhibition ends soon but there will be other things going on each year.


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