26 January – 14 April 2013
A touring show from the V&A Museum of Childhood exploring the enchantment of fairytales, from wicked witches to magic mirrors.
A spellbinding show that examines how magic has become a central theme in childhood. From Snow white to The Hobbit, this exhibition studies fairytales, novels, games and poems through out the ages and asks why the element of magic is so important.
The exhibition features toys, colourful costumes, puppets and well-known classics like Aladdin and Alice and Wonderland as well as early figurines that pre-empted the craze for action figures. There is a dinky collection of the seven dwarfs from the 1950s and popular toys from the Victorian era that played with illusion, like the thaumatrope and the zoetrope. In essence it’s a show about child’s play.
Richard Doyle was a popular Victorian artist who illustrated many picture books. Perhaps his best known illustrations were for a novel called Fairyland in which he depicted the miniature world of goblins and sprites as a colourful, yet sinister place full of mischief and spite.
Also on show are Arthur Rackham’s wondrous pen and watercolour pictures for ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and a magic lantern from the 1940s used to entertain children in the bomb shelters.