I’m working on a fairy costume for Halloween. Sort of Renaissance-ish. White chemise, strapless crocheted corset (yes, really, and it’s a whole story in itself), flowered circlet, that sort of thing. I was describing the costume to a friend of mine who said, “I know exactly what you’re going for. Sounds like an Arthur Rackham fairy.”
“Oh, he was an illustrator. Drew a lot of fairies. Midsummer Night’s Dream, that sort of thing.”
Well, god bless google.
I went forth on a search to learn about Arthur Rackham, and found that yes, indeed, it appears I am making an Arthur Rackham fairy costume, however unintentionally. (Amusingly enough, a friend of mine is making an Amy Brown fairy costume. Anybody want to jump in there with Francis Bedford, or maybe Brian Froud?)
While I was perusing Mr. Rackham’s art (lovely stuff, by the way), I came across this lovely little maiden.
Hey, you’re pretty. What’s your story?
Turns out this is Undine, or Ondine depending on your preference, a water nymph from German folklore. Sounds vaguely familiar. I read on. She was the center of a 19th century novel that gained some popularity concerning the always complicated romantic entanglements between magic and man. The book gave way to a play and a ballet (ah, that’s why the familiar), which Ashton re-choreographed for Dame Margot Fonteyn.
I can’t resist an invitation to watch Margot Fonteyn be beautiful, so that sent me off to YouTube and here’s what I found.
So here, having zero to do with my Halloween costume excepting my rather circuitous train of thought on a Thursday morning, but being so stunning that I can’t possibly not share, is the incomparable Margot Fonteyn dancing Ondine with the Royal Ballet: