Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Witches of Ida Rentoul Outhwaite


Ida Rentoul Outhwaite (June 9, 1888 – June 25, 1960) was an Australian illustrator of children's books.

Working predominantly in pen and ink, and watercolour, Ida's illustrations mostly depicted fairies frolicking in Australian settings, often in the company of Australian native animals.

I first became acquainted with her artwork as a child through one of her books called, The Little World of Elves and Fairies : An Anthology of Verse. I particularly loved the book's cover illustration (pictured above) of a little witch with her black cat, and although her fairy illustrations are truly delightful, I have a particular soft spot for Ida's witches.

Ida collaborated with her sister (Anne Rattray Rentoul), and later her husband (Grenbry Outhwaite), on a number of books during her career.

Her illustrations were also exhibited in Australia, London, and Paris, as well as appearing in periodicals and newspapers of the time.



In 1985, Australia Post honoured Ida Rentoul Outhwaite with a postage stamp featuring the cover witch from Elves and Fairies.







And while we happen to be on the subject of witches...

Magical Magaly of Magaly Guerrero's Pagan Culture is having a Halloweenie blog party. The idea is to create something for Halloween (writing, art, craft, cooking, etc.) with a theme of witches or magic, then post about it on October 17. You can find out more information at Witches in Fiction... Crafting Blooming Howls.


39 comments:

  1. Those are goregous! I'd love prints like that in my office.

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    1. I'd like to have some of her prints on my office wall too, Ms. Ladyfair! I particularly love the first three. :)

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  2. These are so delightful! I'm not familiar with her work, so thanks for the intro!

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    1. Apparently, she was quite famous in her day, Debra She Who Seeks, but by the end of World War II, I imagine people were war-weary and disillusioned, and her fairy art was probably viewed as too whimsical and sentimental. I'm happy to see her art popping up here and there on the internet now, to be discovered by new generations. :)

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  3. I like the old timey, classic feel to her art. You don't see illustrations like these any more. I love the witches too!

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    1. Yes, Ida was one of the artists of the "Golden Age of Illustration", Nightwind. It's good to see illustration so strong right now though, in the form of art movements like Pop Surrealism. The Pop Surrealists are producing modern work with similar fantasy themes, which I love!

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  4. The warm elegance of this artists illustrations are unforgettable ! Thank you for sharing this! now I must search out more about this unique and classic women! xoDebi
    Oh see Ya at the " Hollowlling"!

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    1. My pleasure, Debi! :) What I've posted here is just a tiny sample of her artwork. If you google her name, you'll see all her wonderful fairy illustrations.

      Yes!! See you at Magaly's Halloween bash! We're going to have loads of fun! :D

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    2. Okay! Shake off the nonsense blogger , we have som blogging to do!
      Huge hugs from Northern Canada! Oh , we may get snow tonight!
      SCREAMING! nO!

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    3. Woohoo! It's working again, Debi! ❤ xo

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  5. Oh, I love Ida Rentoul Outhwaite's art, I have some of her illustrations printed out and framed hanging on my wall. ^^

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    1. Oh, that's so awesome that you have her art framed, Lynoire! I'm so pleased that new generations have embraced her work!! ^_^

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  6. I have never seen this illustrator. Her witches are beautiful with their long flowing locks. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Yes, her pretty witches are quite a departure from stereotypical, storybook imagery of witches as warty, toothless, old crones. Much like her fairies, they're depicted as elements of the natural world, which I imagine would be somewhat appealing to modern witches. :)

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  7. I am a huge fan, and so proud she is Australian! I had her book The Enchanted Forest as a kid and loved it so much! I am hoping my mum didn't throw it out as it is no longer in print and very expensive!

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    1. I also used to pretend that the girl in the first picture (who was 'the witch's little sister' in that book) was me!

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    2. As I already think of you as the Fairy Queen of Blogland, it doesn't surprise me one bit that you're already a fan of Ida, Laura! :D And I'm really proud that she is Australian too!

      I had 'Elves and Fairies', so I'm going to have to look up the illustration you're referring to in 'The Enchanted Forest'... I'm curious now! ;)

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  8. These illustrations would be so mesmerizing as a child! I look at them now and they give me that "vintage Halloween" feel I like so much. Very cool!

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    1. Yes, they do have that lovely, vintage Halloween feel, Mark! I love all the bats she includes in her witch illustrations.

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  9. I love the first one - probably going to print it and hang it (somewhere) on my wall.

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    1. Yes, the first one is just gorgeous, isn't it?!! I hope you'll post a picture of it if you do hang it on your wall, Variations On Light! :)

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  10. Wonderful cute witches, thanks for sharing!

    I will definitely be joining Magaly's party.

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    1. I'm looking forward to seeing what you create for Magaly's shindig! See you at the party, Ms Misantropia! :D

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  11. Ida's illustrations are absolutely beautiful, Emma! I feel like a bad Australian for not having heard of her and her work before, so thank you very much for the introduction! That first piece is particularly enchanting, but I also love the way she depicts witches - just gorgeous. ❤

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    1. I think Ida's work has been a little overshadowed by May Gibbs and her Gumnut Babies, Bec, but I'm starting to see her illustrations popping up online, so hopefully she will become better known. Yes, the first picture with the bat is lovely! I must do a bit of a search and see if it's available as a print. :)

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  12. Thank you for showing these illustrations! They are stunning! I have never heard of her before!
    I will be partying with you at Magaly's ;o)
    Big Hugs ;o)

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    1. I'm so pleased to be spreading the word about Ida! People seem to fall in love with her work when they see it, so it's a shame that she's such a secret.

      Can't wait to see what you create, Stacy! See you at the party!! ❤

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  13. Lovely paintings. Her work reminds me a bit of John Bauers illustrations with the swirly hair and gloomy forests.

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    1. I just looked up John Bauer, linnea-maria! Beautiful work! And he's Swedish! Fabulous! Yes, there are definitely similarities in their style. :)

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  14. Oh, I had no idea the bat-fairy artist had other works that I NEED IN MY HOUSE RIGHT NOW.

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    1. Haha. I'm glad I could spread the word, TanteFledermaus!

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  15. I love, love, love that first illustration. I want the dress... and the ginormous bat, too.

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    1. Oh yes! I want that dress and a ginormous bat too, Magaly! STAT!! :D

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  16. "Little Gothic Horrors" has been included in our A Sunday Drive for this week. Be assured that we hope this helps to point even more new visitors in your direction.

    http://asthecrackerheadcrumbles.blogspot.com/2014/08/a-sunday-drive_31.html

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  17. Really awesome. Thanksfor sharing :).

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    1. Thank you and my pleasure, Madame Macabre! :)

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  18. I just came across your blog and sure love it! Your texts and yourself are very inspiring.

    We share some interests, so maybe you want to check my blog out too? www.eccentric-underground.com
    It is very new but I am sure there will be more things to read soon!

    Cheers, Bianca

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    1. Hi Bianca! It's very nice to meet you! I've just followed your blog. :)

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