WATKINS, Frank (illustrator). "These make our girls their sluttery rue, By pinching them both black and blue" [An original watercolour painting]. Circa 1910.
A beautifully painted, delightfully detailed, and signed, original watercolour by Frank Watkins on white artist's card mounted on brown board, with hand-ruled border and cream mount, image size 150 x 200mm, depicting a young serving girl in period dress washing dishes while besieged by a group of frenzied winged imps, with neat caption in pencil beneath, presumably in the artist's hand, in fine condition.
Frank Watkins (fl. 1910) is best known for his illustrations for "The Man From The Moon" by Philip Carmichael, published by Grant Richards, in 1909, which is a scarce and sought-after children's fantasy of the Edwardian period. We have so far been unable to trace the book in which this illustration appears although we do have an accompanying handwritten note from the family in ink, on board: "This original watercolour is by Frank Watkins who married Maud Willson (A[unty] Mo) elder sister (by 18 yrs & b[orn] in Dublin) of Boo & my Mama Eileen Mary Willson ….. He had apparently asked Maud to marry him "every year" for many years - & she was often the 'model' for his fairies/princesses etc. in his wonderful children's books - of which this painting is a characteristic & fine example, J.B.", with further information provided about the family line and the artist's residence in Bedford Park, Chiswick, where he acted in the Amateur Dramatic Society.
The caption quote to this watercolour is from the text of Nymphidia: The Court of Fairy (1627) by the Elizabethan poet Michael Drayton, a verse which has been referred to as "the finest of all seventeenth-century fantasies."