23
Oct
07

Little Miss Muffet

As I’m piecing together my daughter’s room, I’ve felt completely bombarded with stupidly juvenile options on the decorating scene. I think it’s very presumptuous of whoever to assume that just because O is 20 months, that she should be surrounded by aesthetic monstrosities (I apologize for all the big words, I just put the kids down for nap and I’m dying for adult conversation. :-)) Who is to say that she can’t appreciate the difference between this:

(Little Miss Muffet, by Lucille Wallace 1958 )

and this:

(Little Miss Muffet, by Arthur Rackham 1867-1939)

I’m sure Wallace’s version would attract a baby’s eye, but a) this art will be going in her bedroom and I want it to be quiet and soothing and b) Rackham isn’t an artist she’s likely to outgrow anytime soon. Because of his obvious attention to intricate detail, it’s a picture you can look at over and over again and never really see it and c) where is that scary spider that frightened Miss Muffet away in Wallace’s depiction?

I appreciate the warmth and the whimsical nature of children’s art and it is in that spirit that I stumbled upon this artist. Although I’m not a big fan of the faerie scene, I do appreciate animals and interesting situations. I especially liked The Beerider and The Maple Tree in Winter. Since her prints are so affordable, I have every intention of buying some. Therefore, supporting art and my toddler’s future aesthetics. (Maybe I’m taking this a bit too seriously?)

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4 Responses to “Little Miss Muffet”


  1. 1 Betsy
    October 23, 2007 at 10:05 am

    No, I think you have a good point. That’s why I returned every Winnie the Pooh thing that I got at our baby shower (sorry to those of you reading this who may have contributed to that bag of returns). I like those Stuckey-Cassidy prints. I do have to say though that that Rackham print throws me off a little. I love the line weight and balance of the top half of the picture (web and branches) but the bottom half just seems unbalanced to me. I think the spider is too dark and the Little Miss is too un-detailed. And I don’t remember Little Miss Muffet being a gardener (the first pic)? It almost looks like it’s supposed to be Mary Quite Contrary with her coral bells and cockle shells. The Little Miss sans spider makes me think of the Christmas story sans infanticide decree (I’ll use big words too).

  2. October 24, 2007 at 9:43 am

    For what it’s worth, I suspect that the discomfort you feel over balance of the piece actually shows that Rackham was successful. The dark weight on the left side in contrast to the light-ly detailed and almost ethereal innocence of Miss Muffet creates just the discomfort and tension int he viewer that the nursery rhyme itself intends.

  3. 3 Betsy
    October 24, 2007 at 10:17 am

    I think actually the big problem is the way it’s displaying on my monitor. The color saturation, particularly the blue in the dress and the yellow in the hair, (visible now when I tilt my screen back) wasn’t there when I first looked at the print. So now, with my screen tilted, the saturation is sufficient enough for me to look at the print and be disturbed by the creepiness of the spider rather than my perceived imbalance in the drawing.

  4. 4 kyriosity
    October 26, 2007 at 5:18 am

    Yeah, that first one is definitely Mary, Mary Quite Contrary.

    The second one would give me nightmares, if I were the nightmare-having type.


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