The Dream Garden

Ernst Kreidolf's illustrations for Der Traumgarten (Switzerland, c. 1912)

From the collection of Micky the Pixel (flickr set)

I featured this image in April 2009.
A Cotsen Children's Library exhibit says: "This is the caterpillar garden of Herr Hermelin, the ghostly white figure in the lower left-hand corner. He visits the pen every morning before breakfast, so he can admire their gorgeous coloration, stroke their backs, and make sure that each of his beauties is getting its favorite vegetation and is feeding well. Although the gaudy caterpillars look as if they must be products of the illustrator’s imagination, all of them are actually found in nature."

From the Oxford Encyclopedia of Children's Literature: "One popular and frequently reproduced picture shows 'der Salomonssiegel' (Solomon's seal), a generous and mysterious plant who, while resembling his botanical namesake, appears as a sort of Green Man offering a gold chain to the flower fairies who seek him in Der Traumgarten.

The dog is amazing here.

Thank you Micky the Pixel for sharing this book. I previously featured his scans of Malbuchgeschichten.

I'm unclear on the publication history of these images. Micky's scans come from a 1955 Swiss edition. Cotsen gives 1924 as the estimated publication date of Sommervogel (source for its scan of the caterpillar herding image), though wikipedia give 1908 for that book. I have the feeling this issue of Der Traumgarten (first published as Der Gartentraum?!) pulls together various images from Sommervogel and Blumenmärchen. But really, who cares...

Green Tiger Press published a handful of Kreidolf's books in English in the US in the late 70s. The Dream Garden was one of them. (Amazon search results for "Kreidolf.")

From the Oxford Encyclopedia of Children's Literature:

Ernst Kreidolf (1863–1956), German-born poet and illustrator. As a young man, Kreidolf studied lithography and later taught the craft. He left Germany for Switzerland during World War I. While he produced lifelike portraits, still-lifes (mostly of flowers), and a few religious pieces, he is best remembered for his more imaginative work. Kreidolf was fascinated with mythology, a subject on which he often spoke, and he originated his own myths around the spirits he saw in nature. In a style both spare and fantastic, he created a world in which every plant is animated and every garden inhabited by beneficent fairies.

With the juxtaposition of illustration and original rhyme, Kreidolf achieved great success in anthropomorphizing plants and revealing the magical side of nature.... in [Kreidolf's] world, nothing remains formless or inanimate. His pictures...communicate a sense of wonder about every aspect of the universe.

I've been collecting Kreidolf's books for three years, so more to come! (I really need to use my scanner more.)

See the full "Kinderbuch series" of German, Austrian, and Swiss children's books

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