Margaret Tarrant Illustrations

Today’s very quick pit stop at a charity shop yielded a few interesting vintage children’s books:

Vintage books

We’d been to the Reddish Vale farm with my friend Emma and her girls; I spotted the Salvation Army shop on our way back so quickly found somewhere to park and persuaded the kids to come for a look.

I’ve already got a copy of this version of Rumpelstiltskin from the last car boot sale we did, but I can never leave these editions if I see them. The Margaret Tarrent book didn’t immediately look that interesting, especially as it’s falling to pieces, but the pictures looked pretty enough.

Margaret Tarrant Ring of Roses

Margaret Tarrant Humpty Dumpty

Margaret Tarrant Sing a Song of Sixpence

Margaret Tarrant Mary Mary, Quite Contrary

This one’s a bit like how I’ve felt today:

Margaret Tarrant Old Woman in a Shoe

Just without the smacking with a stick!

Born in 1888, Margaret Winifred Tarrant was the daughter of a landscape painter, Percy Tarrant, and studied at three different colleges of Art: Clapham, Heatherley’s and Guildhall. Her main areas were children and religious illustrations, most notably pictures of fairies. One of her first commissions was for an edition of ‘The Water Babies’.

(information from Wikipedia and

Having never heard of the illustrator before, but being familiar with the style, I’ve looked at a few more pictures online. They’re not really to my taste: I probably wouldn’t display them in our children’s rooms, but I can see that in the right setting they would lovely.

Margaret Tarrant Baby Bunting

I love that picture actually, but the nursery rhyme is ‘Bye Baby Bunting, daddy’s gone a-hunting.’ Not one for a veggie family…

Margaret Tarrant Mary Mary, Quite Contrary

Margaret Tarrant Hey Diddle Diddle

I’ve got an idea that these could be framed up to sell. The book is falling apart, so I wouldn’t feel too bad about cutting it up a bit more. As per usual, I’ll probably just stash it somewhere with good intentions. I’m just not sure how much to charge for a print; do I frame it or sell it as it is? Suggestions would be appreciated!

Half of the book is nursery rhymes and the other half is fairy tales. Some, such as Sleeping Beauty, lend themselves to some lovely pictures:

Margaret Tarrant Sleeping Beauty

Margaret Tarrant Sleeping Beauty

Margaret Tarrant Sleeping Beauty

And the following are from Tom Thumb:

Margaret Tarrant Tom Thumb

Margaret Tarrant Tom Thumb

Then others just don’t really work as well. ‘Babes in the Wood’ would probably scar any child for life…

Margaret Tarrant Babes in the Wood

Margaret Tarrant Babes in the Wood

Creepy uncle and men fighting with knives? Not sure anyone would want those on the nursery walls!

I’m trying not to show the book to Corliss because I think she’d like these pictures, and then it would be yet another project for her bedroom that I never get round to.

My favourite picture probably is either the Bye Baby Bunting one or the Ring O’ Roses. Not this creepy picture, that’s for sure:

It’s the eyes… They follow you round the room. I’m not putting that one on the walls either.

Overall, I’m pleased I found this today. Margaret Tarrant is another illustrator to add to the list of ones to keep an eye out for. Just not a creepy, plum-pie eating eye…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s