State of the Blog Address 2023

Yet one more straw has been placed on the camel’s back. We have weathered a number of crises in the past and I am so delighted that we have been able to carry on so far (with a few interruptions). Our latest host did careful research to find the kinds of connections that allow us to operate despite somewhat rabid opposition. We have found many tolerant service providers, but the simple fact is that they are in business to make money. That means when there are enough complaints about us, we are asked to leave. After all, no data center wants to be associated with child pornography, however false the claims. Many services have been lined up so far, but I feel it necessary to inform you that were are on our last one and it is possible that we will have to shut down in the near future. Naturally, we are interested in any useful ideas and leads that might keep us going and we have a few guardian angels out there already trying to help us out. I just thought it only fair to warn readers that we may have to unexpectedly shut down. If this happens, this will not be the end of Pigtails in Paint. At the very worst, we will just have to take a break for a while until we can get some more ducks in a row. Thank you everyone for your wonderful support. -Ron

One Funeral at a Time: It is my sad duty to inform you that Graham Stewart Ovenden passed away on the morning of December 9, 2022 (GMT). I delayed in this notification to allow his closest friends and family to process the news. I only got to know him in the last few years, but my life has been greatly enriched in the process. One of the problems of social and academic progress is that the entrenched power-brokers resist change and suppress the contribution of bright young minds. Of course, this idea is a two-edged sword because it is not only the obstructors who pass away, but the hopeful visionaries as well. It falls to those of us who survive to shape the meaning of this man’s life. He will be greatly missed.

Bad Choice: One of the temptations in modern capitalism is to go overboard in promoting a new product. With all the competition out there, it is so easy to cross the line or misrepresent a new offering to get attention. A 2020 coming-of-age film by Senegalese filmmaker Maïmouna Doucouré is one of the latest examples. Cuties (French, Mignonnes) is about an 11-year-old girl who joins a dance troupe and is confronted in the process by cultural conflict and her own emerging womanhood. Unfortunately, the writer-director received harsh criticism for this well-constructed work because of an error of judgment by Netflix during its US release. Instead of using one of the established publicity stills, it used an image of the troupe somewhat provocatively posed as if that were the main purpose of the film. Naturally pundits—who certainly have not watched the film—made the boilerplate accusations of pornography and abuse. Bridget Todd of the podcast Internet Hate Machine produced an excellent overview this issue.

The Dark Side of Chocolate: One of the ironies of running this site is how we are accused of promoting child pornography. My understandable irritation is amplified by the fact that there is real deplorable abuse of children out there that requires action. I have posted many examples on this site to inform readers including well-researched outright human trafficking. Let’s give some consideration to this fact the next time we indulge in chocolate. As it happens, the most popular brands have been sourcing their cocoa from companies that make extensive use of child labor, most of which were abducted exclusively for this purpose according to documentarian Miki Mistrati.

Curious Alice: Once in a while I get a message from Pip, the founder of this site, and he shares some interesting tidbits he recently came across. Like many young girl enthusiasts, Lewis Carroll’s Alice is a popular theme. A most curious case in point is a 1971 production called Curious Alice. It was a short US government anti-drug propaganda film. It used animation, still photography and standard film in rather weird combinations that play off the various types of highs one gets from different drugs with each Wonderland character representing a different substance (Caterpillar as marijuana, Mad Hatter as LSD, March Hare as amphetamines, etc.). It is definitely a film of its time and Pip finds it amusing that the government used hippie aesthetics to make an anti-drug film that was not only ineffective but may have had some appeal for drug users!

In Defense of Teddy Bears: Also from Pip is yet another stupid phony controversy regarding Balenciaga for—get this—featuring teddy bear handbags with BDSM attire! Here is a link with Balenciaga’s apology for their ads. This apology was likely the result of pressure from Kim Kardashian who is an ambassador for the brand and also put out a statement in response.

Our Girl Wednesday: According to an associate, there is a new dance inspired by the character Wednesday from the Netflix series of the same name in The Addams Family franchise. The dance is shown here on YouTube and there are numerous imitators either dressing up as Wednesday or copying the dance which I will let you dig up yourself since there are quite a few, most notably on Instagram.

Another Item of Pinterest: One of our readers is an avid postcard collector. He agreed to share what he has put up so far on his Pinterest account.

Sublimated Sexuality in Modern Surrealist Girl Art, Part 5

Now we are in the home stretch of the Sublimated Sexuality series (only one more post and it will be completed). If you haven’t already perused them, or you wish to review the series, you can find the other parts here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

15) Anthropomorphism of animals and objects – With respect to anthropomorphic animals, much of what was said in the animals, masks and monsters categories applies here as well, but I think this separate category is warranted, especially as it includes non-living objects. Anthropomorphism is a common characteristic of children’s media, so it’s natural that it would also occur in pop surrealist art in which children are subjects, particularly in a darkly satirical context.

There’s something a bit leering and creepy about that moon, no?

Ana Bagayan – Moon Babies

Ana Bagayan (official site)

James Jean can always by counted on to produce excellent dreamlike imagery. Anthropomorphic flowers? Where have we seen those before? Ah, yes: Alice in Wonderland. I suspect it’s no accident that that particular story is frequently referenced,  overtly or otherwise, in this work!

James Jean – Aurelians (2016)

James Jean (official site)

Food is another thing which is often anthropomorphized in this type of art, usually with some rather morbid implications. The title in this next piece is a disturbing pun. The adorable little girl might be regarded as “eye candy” in the symbolic sense, but the cupcake’s eyes are literal eye candy, and one of them is about to be eaten!

Nicoletta Ceccoli – Eye Candy

Nicoletta Ceccoli (official site)

Kokomoo – (Title Unknown)

Deidre L. Morton (Peemonster) – Eden Dream

Rabbits are a commonly anthropomorphized animal in this art. Again, could this be an allusion to Alice? This first image certainly feels quite reminiscent of Carroll’s creation. Note too the resemblance of the rabbit’s pair of pendulums to dangling cherries.

Masaru Shichinohe – (Title Unknown)

Artnet: Masaru Shichinohe

Stephen Mackey – Magic Uncle

Stephen Mackey (official site)

16) The presence of death and decay – It makes perfect sense that references to death would also appear in this work, serving as a memento mori to remind viewers that life is short and fleeting, and that there may be an eternal afterlife in which we are judged and dealt with according to how we lived our lives, so we had better not harm anyone, especially the vulnerable . . . such as children. Furthermore, death is disgusting and frightening, so its juxtaposition with children works as another example of dissuasion by association.

Hiroyuki Mano – Stone Mirror

DeviantArt: DensenManiya

Nils Karsten – Heaven in Orange

Nils Karsten (official site)

Ana Bagayan – Heaven

Timothy Cummings – Sudden Scenario

Timothy Cummings (official site)

Audrey Kawasaki – Isabelle (2006)

Audrey Kawasaki (official site)

Jackie Skrzynski – Cold Comfort (2007)

Jackie Skrzynski (official site)

Juniper trees have a fascinating association with death and misfortune. Some may recall the Brothers Grimm fairy tale The Juniper Tree, which involves the murder of a mother and her young son. In Welsh legend cutting down a juniper tree meant the feller was bound to die, and many dream interpreters believe that dreaming of juniper trees is extremely unlucky, especially for those who are ill. Modern horror author Peter Straub also penned a story called The Juniper Tree, about a young boy who is sexually abused by a stranger at a movie theater.

Cornelia Renz – The Juniper Tree (2006)

Cornelia Renz (official site)

17) Subversion of religion and the sacred – Complimenting themes of death in this work (or in some cases contrasting against or satirizing them) is the subverting of religious themes, particularly Christianity.

Generally I try to feature only one work per artist in each category, since there are so many worthy artists, but these two paintings by Amy Crehore absolutely have to be featured together as they tell an amusing/disturbing little story. While you’d think it’s the demon who is the true threat here, the second piece in the series reveals who really wields the power!

Amy Crehore – Story of Lolita, Part 1

Amy Crehore – Story of Lolita, Part 2

The Art of Amy Crehore (official site)

Scott G. Brooks – The Heavenly Virtues: Bravery (Girl with Pet Goat) (2004)

Scott G Brooks Studios (official site)

Teiji Hayama – Ekho

Asia Contemporary Art: Teiji Hayama

Stu Mead – First Communion (2004)

Stu Mead (official site)

Heidi Taillefer – Sovereign Side (2008)

Heidi Taillefer (official site)

Mike Cockrill – Nativity (2004)

Mike Cockrill (official site)

Mark Ryden does religious satire so frequently that I had a tough time narrowing it down to just one piece. Nevertheless . . .

Mark Ryden – The Angel of Meat

Mark Ryden (official site)

This next piece is both a subversion of a well-known biblical event (Abraham’s attempted sacrifice of his son Isaac) and a commentary by the artist on the nature of his own work, since dolls feature prominently in his paintings and sculptures. We will definitely see him again in the final installment of this series.

Mikel Glass – Sacrifice of Subject Matter

Mikel Glass (official site)

Jana Brike – Two Wounded Angels on the Beach

Squarespace: Jana Brike

Passing Seasons: Graham Arnold

One of the many delightful things about visiting Graham Ovenden every year is that I sometimes get to meet some of his engaging friends. I had hoped that Graham Arnold (1932–2019) would be among them one day. He, along with Ovenden and a tightly-knit group of artists, established themselves as The Ruralists. Unfortunately, Mr. Arnold passed away a couple of months ago so now we can only offer some of the work of an artist who brought the world his crisp and distinct style. Whenever Arnold did depict the figures of girls in his paintings, they were usually adolescents or young women, but there were a few exceptions.

Graham Arnold – The Eclipse at Clun (date unknown)

Amongst the numerous Ruralist exhibitions that featured the work of Graham Arnold was one that played on the theme of Lewis Carroll’s Alice.‭ ‬We display two of his works here,‭ ‬devoted to this subject,‭ ‬which shows the beauty and individuality of Arnold’s vision.‭ ‬These works were not only shown in a number of museums in Great Britain but also,‭ ‬to great acclaim,‭ ‬in Tokyo,‭ ‬Japan. -Graham Ovenden, 2019

Dream Child is a depiction of Alice as she falls down the Rabbit Hole.‭ ‬The design is a homage to the great Renaissance painter Piero della Francesca who was deeply loved by Arnold.

Graham Arnold – Dream Chlid (1990)

Alice Balancing shows the prismatic nature of much of Arnold’s work:‭ ‬the importance of color,‭ ‬geometry and draughtsmanship,‭ ‬all held in a unity.

Graham Arnold – Alice Balancing (1992)

Arnold’s knowledge of music was more than considerable and in many respects the motif of youthful feminine beauty,‭ ‬which is apparent in many of his paintings and collages,‭ ‬are the creation of a mind in harmonic unity with its chosen subject.‭ ‬This is a quality also found in his paintings of‭ ‬still life,‭ ‬which like his numerous collages place him at the fore of twentieth century innovation, but one unpolluted by the morés and fashions of modernism. -Graham Ovenden, 2019

Garden Box is an example of Arnold’s mastery in the art of collage.‭ Included among the i‬mages is a photographic portrait by Ron Oliver.

Graham Arnold – Garden Box (date unknown)

In an effort to coordinate their efforts, The Ruralists would agree upon particular themes and prepare works of art concurrently with that theme as in Lewis Carroll’s Alice above. Another such subject was that of Ophelia.

Graham Arnold – Ophelia (date unknown)

A few complimentary overviews of Arnold’s work were published after his passing. Take a look here and here.

Thanks go to Graham Ovenden for his rapid preparation of background materials so that we may share this small taste of Mr. Arnold’s legacy in a timely fashion. Currently in production is a considerable volume of Graham Arnold’s life work to be published by Garage Press. It will include written commentary made by the artist himself as well as a foreword by Jerrold Northrop Moore.

Maiden Voyages: April 2019

The Blog Returns: Many of our readers were dismayed to learn that Agapeta had been shut down due to trumped up claims of TOS violations. Christian has followed our lead and reestablished his blog through Rainbow Digital Media. He was just about to publish some poems penned by my friend, Graham Ovenden. To commemorate the return of Agapeta, those poems are now featured on the front page of the blog. Christian intends to replace all the material from the previous incarnation but gradually and after careful editing. You can visit Agapeta here.

A Lavish Edition: Perhaps one of the most iconic examples of ‘The Cult of the Girl Child’ is Lewis Carroll’s Alice stories. It is always interesting to see what new approaches artists come up with. This time it is Christian Birmingham, a well-known illustrator of children’s books, who is planning an edition of Alice in Wonderland set to be published this summer. You can view more of his work here.

A Run-in with the Law: 12-year-old reporter Hilde Lysiak was following a lead in Patagonia, Arizona when a marshal pulled her over on her bike and reportedly threatened to throw her in juvenile detention. Lysiak calmly confronted the officer and had the presence of mind to record the encounter. This triggered several complaints and authorities state that appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against the marshal.

Padding His Stats: In last month’s Maiden Voyages, I was initially pleased to announce the existence of a book covering coming-of-age films focusing on little girls. I was warned by a colleague that it may not have been what it seemed and she was right. Apart from having very poor production quality, Mr. Wo claimed to list over 800 titles but it turns out that he lists a number of naturist productions which, although they certainly feature naked little girls, they do little more than pander to voyeurs. Also, many titles that should have been included were not; frankly Pigtails’ database is far superior and will be indexed for readers to view soon. I get the sense from the title selections that the superficial focus is on naked girls or girls in sexual situations. I also took issue with Mr. Wo’s definition of coming-of-age which, to him, was about the age of the girls rather than a process of development. I would suggest that readers save their money and simply keep an eye out for Pigtails’ imminent films index.

Real Survivors: So often we hear of tragedies befalling innocent children but here’s a bit of good news for once. Two little girls in Northern California who wandered off in defiance of their mother were found alive and in good spirits in the woods 44 hours later.

Before the Age of VHS: There are a lot of interesting films out there that have not been remastered on DVD and, consequently, they are hard to find in the digital world. Individuals have been known to take VHS copies or VHS recordings from a television airing and make them available. If anyone knows where we can find a copy of Little Girl in Blue Velvet (La petite fille en velours bleu, 1978), please let us know.

Russian Interpreters Needed: At one time, I had access to a number of fans who helped with translating and interpreting Russian material, particularly short films. Remarkably, all of these sources have dried up for various reasons. I would like to request that readers fluent in Russian come forward and help.

Awkward Conversation a Bit Easier with Friends: This item is a couple years old but it is an informative article about the challenges of little girls growing up. This one is about a mother having her first conversation with her “tween” daughter (and her friend) about getting her first bra.

More than Just a Ham: Young girls do seem to love playing in front of the camera. But, every so often, some real talent emerges. A colleague sent me a link to this video of a phenomenal 10-year-old singer.

Fun at the Beach: Here’s a fun video featuring children having fun at the beach. Summer is just around the corner!

Drawn Into Fantastic Worlds: Brian Partridge

Brian Partridge – Drawing Book Title Page (1986)

Every so often, I come across an artist that strikes me as exceptional. And although the artist in question may have gotten some recognition for his work, his or her fame and success does not seem in accord with his talent. In the medium of pen-and-ink, Brian Partridge is just such an artist. Consider what kind of world we would have if great artists were recognized and nurtured at a young age. At the very least, our man-made world would be one of much richer beauty.

Brian Partridge was born in 1953, in the small village of Silverstone on the edge of the Cotswolds. Adopted into a service family he travelled extensively, leading a peripatetic lifestyle until the age of twelve years. He had no formal art training, and astonishingly in view of his now apparent talent, he did not begin drawing seriously until he was twenty-five years old.

Meanwhile, he had discovered the world of secondhand book shops and developed a love for Victorian book illustration including John Tenniel’s drawings for the Alice books. Shortly afterwards he acquired Illustrators of Alice (1972) by Graham Ovenden and John Davis and found himself fascinated by the widely differing interpretations of Carroll’s stories by 20th Century artists around the world.

Brian Partridge – Sir John Tenniel (1993)

Brian Partridge – Alice in Escher Land (1997)

While visiting a postcard dealer friend of Partridge’s in Bath, he noticed a magazine for sale in a shop window called The Green Book, edited by Keith Spencer. It had an intriguing piece inside about the Ruralists so he bought it. As it happened, it was issue number one and there was a request from the editor for artists to send in black-and-white work. Partridge’s submissions were warmly received and many were published including several frontispieces. This was his first experience at being published. He became familiar with specific Ruralists such as Graham Ovenden through his Illustrators of Alice book, David Inshaw from a magazine article and Ann and Graham Arnold who knew of his work from The Green Book. Partridge was introduced to Ovenden for the first time in 1982 when he went to Barley Splatt for a long weekend in the company of Spencer. Later, he and Ovenden even invested in the magazine for a time.

Brian Partridge – Up Lazy Thing (1993)

In 1984 he became involved in an amateur production of Alice at Cheltenham’s Children’s Theatre. Besides designing and helping to build the sets, he found himself acting as stage hand, program seller and jack of all trades. This production had a profound effect on his development as an artist, and after the show’s finale, he began drawing Carroll-related themes for the first time.

Brian Partridge – Alice’s Rivals (1994)

By 1984, he had direct involvement with professional artists in the Brotherhood of Ruralists and exhibited for the first time that year through that organization. Impressed by Partridge’s latest inspirations, Ovenden suggested they collaborate on a book and together they came up with a concept for an edition of Alice in Wonderland. Ovenden would provide the photos for Alice which would be set in a ‘wonderland’ drawn by Partridge. This project was ultimately abandoned but the two did work together on the Acrostics which was handled in a similar vein.

Brian Partridge’s drawings are delicate and dramatic. They juggle with luminosity … Behind many of these pictures is a shape-shifter’s imagination like the Celtic. Women change into trees, saplings spring from their mouths. A girl’s body has a bird’s head, pinions for fingers. And is it ribbon or candle-smoke or tendril that winds among the trees? -Graham Ovenden, Inkscapes, Garage Press, 2018

Brian Partridge – Forever (Lilith) (1997)

At this stage, Partridge knew he was not skilled at drawing human figures and began to remedy that shortcoming in earnest. At first, Ovenden contributed some of his photographs of Samantha Gates for studies—even if it was necessary to trace them at first. One model, Gemma—just a chance acquaintance, borrowed for half an hour and then sent on her way—was used to produce a lot of the Alice drawings, mixed in with others, for another Alice project, this time drawn completely by Partridge. The artist considered the resulting efforts his first success at a believable likeness of a young girl. Lamentably, these fine images were not published at the time, but when a Japanese woman making a new translation of Alice saw the drawings, she wanted them for a book published in 2006. The cover, incidentally, is not one of Partridge’s designs.

Cover, Alice’s Adverntures in Wonderland, Ronso Fantasy Editions (2006)

Brian Partridge – Alice Remembering (1994)

In time, the artist had a portfolio of his own photographs so that any references to Ovenden’s photos is rare. A striking case in point is a drawing that has the unmistakable countenance of Samantha Gates, later turned into a Christmas card.

Brian Partridge – “I’m sure I can’t be Mabel” (1994)

The next image was colorized and turned into a birthday card to celebrate Ovenden’s 75th birthday earlier this year.

Brian Partridge – Domino Girl (1993)

This business of building a portfolio of model studies then took a dramatic turn. Some photographers are fortunate enough to have their own darkrooms to develop their images without prying eyes, but others with lesser means often depend on local vendors to process their film. Perhaps inevitably, the presence of nude child figures caught the attention of an overzealous technician who decided to inform the police. Partridge was subsequently arrested and charged. One of the bizarre consequences of these events is that communication between him and Ovenden was legally cut off due to Ovenden’s recent parole conditions. Fortunately, Partridge had not changed his address since 1994 and a couple of years ago, they were in touch again collaborating once again on new additions to Acrostics and other projects with Garage Press.

He also delights in irreverent portrayals of politicians as Wonderland characters; Michael Hesletine as the Hatter, Peter Mandelson with the Millennium dome on his head as the Duchess, William Hague as the Baby and Tony Blair as a manic Cheshire Cat. But he is also fond on loving tributes of worthy artists such as composers Edward Elgar and Claude Debussy. The Elgar drawings were done for a Ruralist Touring Exhibition of the same name. The Debussy drawing is considered another early success at including convincing child figures which are not to be seen in the Elgar drawings.

Brian Partridge – Claude Debussy (Children’s Corner) (1989)

Other loving tributes included Princess Diana and Shirley Temple.

Brian Partridge – The Queen of Hearts (2007)

Brian Partridge – Shirley (2000)

Until recently, Partridge had worked almost exclusively in pen and ink, producing drawings which were amazingly detailed, delicate and yet startlingly dramatic. When Tony Linsell first saw examples of his work at a Brotherhood of Ruralist’s exhibition in 1989, he immediately realized that this was the artist he wanted to illustrate his book, Anglo-Saxon Runes. It took Partridge more than two years to complete the thirty-one pictures for the book, but his drawings perfectly reflected the spirit of Anglo-Saxon folklore and tradition. A more recent book, Honeycomb, with poems by Pauline Stainer—a more modest project in size—contains fifteen of his superb drawings.

Brian Partridge – Figures in a Landscape (for Pauline Stainer) (1988)

A series on the Zodiac is one of his color examples. They were designs for postcards published by P.H. Topics. Each design included a portrait of a girl in front of a stained-glass window. The colors, images of the plants and animals and a little roundel, are all symbols associated with each star-sign. The originals were watercolors with ink to lend definition.

Brian Partridge – Sagittarius (1997)

But undoubtedly his most remarkable work to date is his complete set of illustrations for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and a series of stunning drawings of Lewis Carroll, Alice Liddell, her sisters and other real people associated with the famous author. The artist’s affinity with the Alice books is instinctive. He has been a member of the Lewis Carroll Society for years, and the Society has specially commissioned work from him, including the jacket designs for its most prestigious publication to date, Lewis Carrolls’ Diaries. His work is avidly collected by members of the society, and those who cannot afford his drawings, collect his postcards and was onetime voted favorite postcard illustrator in a survey organized by The Picture Postcard Annual.

Brian Partridge – Alice Liddell (1993)

A selection of his illustrations including the Alice in Wonderland book, the more recent work based on Through the Looking-Glass and many other examples are now featured in Inkscapes, a hand-printed edition published by Garage Press. More accessible to the general public, however, are two key commercial productions: Drawn Into Wonderland (2004) which gives a behind-the-scenes overview of his Alice-themed work and the aforementioned Japanese version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Brian Partridge – Drawn Into Wonderland (Cover Design) (2004)

Brian Partridge – Frog King (1987)

Partridge’s work has appeared in a wide variety of magazines and journals and he was kind enough to provide a complete bibliography. Now that he and Ovenden have rekindled their collaboration, the artist has the chance to display his singular wit and imagination through storytelling. His latest project is a ghost story called A House Best Avoided (2018) which he believes could turn out to be one of his better efforts. The intent is to include about eight new drawings, a design for the cover and incidental ornamental work as needed. Upon completion, he plans to reciprocate for this opportunity to publish by illustrating a book of nursery rhymes for Ovenden. This is an excellent new creative outlet for the artist as the challenges of making drawings becomes increasingly onerous.

Brian Partridge – Unicorn (2003)

Ed: Until such time that the Garage Press page is established, serious collectors interested in purchasing any of the Garage Press, hand-produced volumes including Inkscapes should express their interest through our contact page and your message will be forwarded to the order fulfillment department. -Ron

A Selected Bibliography

    • Honeycomb, Pauline Stainer, Bloodaxe 1989
    • The Gardener’s Song, Lewis Carroll, Redlake Press 1990
    • Calendar (with Sue Cave), Simon Rae, Redlake Press 1990
    • Sold with All Faults, Graham Ovenden, unpublished 1990
    • Anglo-Saxon Runes, Tony Linsell, Anglo-Saxon Books 1992
    • Skeffington Hume Dodgson, Edward Wakeling, Lewis Carroll Society 1992
    • The Celtic Year, Shirley Toulson, Element Books 1993
    • Anglo-Saxon Mythology, Migration & Magic, Tony Linsell, Anglo-Saxon Books 1994
    • The Angel With The Hawklure, Pauline Stainer, Privately Published 1997
    • Acrostics, Graham Ovenden, Artist’s Choice Editions 2003
    • Drawn Into Wonderland, Brian Partridge, P H Topics 2004
    • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll, Ronso Fantasy Collection, Japan 2006
    • Inkscapes, Garage Press, 2017
    • The Mysterious Reappearance of Abigail Thistlewaite, Brian Partridge, Garage Press 2017
    • A House Best Avoided, Brian Partridge, Garage Press 2018


    • Nine poems, Eve Machin, Ruralist Press 1987
    • Great Tew, Simon Rae, Ruralist Press 1989
    • Secret Garden, Ruralist Press 1989
    • The Orange Dove of Fiji, Edited by Simon Rae, Hutchinson 1989
    • Some thoughts on Alice, Ruralist Press 1990
    • Little Egypt, Pauline Stainer, Ruralist Press 1992
    • Anglo Saxon Riddles, John Porter, Anglo-Saxon Books 1995
    • First steps in Old English, Stephen Pollington, Anglo-Saxon Books 1996
    • The Diaries of Lewis Carroll (in ten Volumes), Lewis Carroll Society 1993–2007
    • English Country Lanes, Elisabeth Chidsey Smith, Settle 2002
    • Thalia, Privately Published, Leeds 2003
    • Life & Work of Phillip Dodgson Jaques, Lewis Carroll Society 2004
    • Diana in Art, Mem Mahet, Chaucer Press – Pop-Art Books 2007
    • Emblem of My Work, Laurence Sterne Trust 2013


    • The Continuing Tradition, David Paul, Gallery Chichester 1985
    • Other Worlds Exhibition Catalogue Bearnes, Torquay 1989
    • Graham Ovenden Monograph, Academy Editions 1987
    • The Ruralists Art & Design, Academy Editions 1991
    • “On The Spot”, Article by Roger Moss Create March 1993
    • The Other Alice, Christina Bjork Douglas & Mcintyre / Raben & Sjogren Books 1993
    • The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction & Fantasy Art Techniques, John Grant & Ron Tiner, Titan Books / Running Press 1996
    • “Phantasmagoria – an Appreciation of Brian Partridge’s Work”, Pauline Stainer, Inkscape Magazine 2001
    • The Ruralists & Brian Partridge, Kimie Kusomoto Mischmasch, Japan 2006
    • Ancient Landscapes – Pastoral Visions Exhibition Catalogue, A C C Editions 2008
    • Living Next Door to Alice – the Postcard World of Brian Partridge, Picture Postcard Annual 2010

Fear Has Big Eyes: Jan Švankmajer

What little I know about stop-motion animation is that it takes great patience and discipline. As a result, the results are usually quite imaginative; otherwise, why bother? In the course of reviewing Illustrating Alice (2013) by Artists’ Choice Editions, I found an interview of Czech animator Jan Švankmajer in which he shares how the works of Lewis Carroll have influenced him.

Švankmajer was born in Prague in 1934 and studied at the Institute of Industrial Arts and the Marionette Faculty of the Prague Academy of Fine Arts in the 1950s. He began experimenting with filmmaking after becoming involved with the mixed-media productions of Prague’s Lanterna Magika Theatre and produced his first short film in 1964. Always in the back of his mind was the idea of making a feature-length film based on Alice in Wonderland. He has persevered despite persistent efforts by Czech authorities to ban or undermine his work. He has been a member of the Prague Surrealist Group since 1969.

Jan Švankmajer – Alice (1988) (1)

Lewis Carroll’s Alice is rooted firmly in my mental morphology. To me, she’s not someone who stands apart from me. And since I have worked throughout my entire life in the fashion of a dialogue conducted with my childhood, I have also been in dialogue with Lewis Carroll. -Jan Švankmajer, Illustrating Alice, 2011.

The animator’s first venture into Carroll’s material was in 1971 with the short film Žvahlav aneb šatičky slaměného Huberta based on Carroll’s poem, “Jabberwocky”. According to Švankmajer, this video collage was an expression of the history of his childhood up to the moment when he first rebelled against his father. After each scene, a black tomcat representing the animal subconscious, disrupts the carefully arranged setup and, in the end, is locked up in a “cage of domestication”. The the only spoken words are an introductory recitation, by a young girl, of Carroll’s poem which appeared in Alice Through the Looking-Glass. The voice in the Czech version was done by his own daughter, Veronika, who was nine at the time. In Czechoslovakia, the film was banned because the censors said it contained political allegories. He proceeded to make the English version which travelled the world as an American film through Weston Wood Studios. After 1989, the proprietor of that company generously transferred the rights to the film to Švankmajer and thus, after a delay of 16 years, it was finally shown in Prague.

Jan Švankmajer – ‘Jabberwocky’ (1971) (1)

Jan Švankmajer – ‘Jabberwocky’ (1971) (2)

His most autobiographical film was also inspired to a degree by Alice. Do pivnice (Down into the Cellar, 1983)¹ tells of a little girl (Monika Belo-Cabanová) sent to the cellar to fetch some potatoes and what befalls her down there. Like other filmmakers such as Carlos Saura, Švankmajer decided to portray himself in the feminine person perhaps giving the viewer a stronger sense of the child’s vulnerability. In its fantastical sense, it is much like Alice but, compared to the later film of that name, gives a relatively straightforward linear account of a child seized with terror in a giant grown-up world.

Jan Švankmajer – Do pivnice (1983) (1)

Jan Švankmajer – Do pivnice (1983) (2)

Jan Švankmajer – Do pivnice (1983) (3)

In Czech there’s a saying, “Strach má velké oči” (Fear has big eyes). The saying is meant to convey the idea that our fears tend to overwhelm our willingness to take risks. In reality, the dangers are often much less than we imagine and Švankmajer’s life exemplifies this point perfectly. It is a testament to his tenacity that he followed through with his projects. He says his excursions into the underworld played a major role in developing his imagination. Do pivnice also ran up against the censors and was locked away for a number of years. The film had to be produced in a studio in Slovakia and the studio there demanded changes that the artist was unwilling to make. The concern was that it might cast a negative light on Slovakian life when viewed by an international audience. They also objected to the fact that there was no clear distinction between scenes taken from reality and those taken from the child’s imagination. Only after those first two films did Švankmajer dare to attempt a “complete” Alice.

Jan Švankmajer – Alice (1988) (2)

Alice thought to herself, “Now you will see a film made for children, perhaps—but I nearly forgot—you must close your eyes otherwise you won’t see anything!” -Jan Švankmajer, Alice, 1988.

This is a strange introduction for Něco z Alenky (1988), a film about to offer the viewer a visual spectacle. But once one understands the filmmaker’s intent, it is clear that he is setting the stage for a kind of lucid dream peppered with nonsense.

Jan Švankmajer – Alice (1988) (3)

The filmmaker understood that he was embarking on well-trodden territory with countless film adaptations having come before.

… in my belief film-makers will never stop coming back to her [Alice], since the book’s oneiric imagination cannot fail to inspire and cries out for ever new interpretations. Yes, it is written as a dream-record and, just like the dreams of any of us, it is in code … with Carroll there are two forms of his Alice: one, the ‘manifest’ form that doesn’t change, and the other, the ‘latent’ form that mutates according to the age at which we happen to be reading it. -Jan Švankmajer, Illustrating Alice, 2011.

Most adaptations of Alice try to force it into the genre of a fairy-tale, but Švankmajer believes that doing so deprives it of the free flow of dream. There is no real moral message to a dream and it refuses to conform to socially acceptable criteria. In that respect, the animator has tried to stay true to the experience without presuming to interpret Carroll’s musings.

Jan Švankmajer – Alice (1988) (4)

Dream may be regarded as the domain of the fantastic and yet it is grounded in mundane reality. Švankmajer takes those things with which Alice would be most intimately familiar—the things found in her own little room—then expands them into the vast landscapes of her imagination. In the film, we are taken into the world of imagination through a desk drawer. One of the amusing running gags of the film is that every time Alice pulls the handle, it comes off in her hand and she then has to pry her way in.

Jan Švankmajer – Alice (1988) (5)

Jan Švankmajer – Alice (1988) (6)

The artist realized that one must constantly resist the urge to tell a chronologically ordered tale and, indeed, there is no feeling of continuity between discrete scenes.

All the objects, props, dolls, toys, costumes and Alice herself (Kristýna Kohoutová)—the only live actor—are practical elements and not specially crafted for the film. Švankmajer says this is important because, “After all, nothing in our dreams ever astonishes us, since anything that makes up our dreams seems utterly natural.”

Jan Švankmajer – Alice (1988) (7)

An interesting convention in the film was to use a doll as a stand-in for Alice whenever she was in her “small” form.

Jan Švankmajer – Alice (1988) (8)

Another running gag is whenever a character is “injured”, there is a short pause in the action while sawdust is replaced and tears in the fabric sewn up. Because dreams are inherently autobiographical, the only voice heard throughout the film is Alice’s (Camilla Power), even when “doing” the voices of the other characters.

Jan Švankmajer – Alice (1988) (9)

No Czech state studio showed any interest in the film and so all financing and resources came from out of the country. This was a major hindrance since after World War II, the film industry was nationalized and the Czechoslovakian government held a monopoly. The help of institutions such as Artcentrum were enlisted to give the project legitimacy and to avoid running afoul of the law. Another parallel with Saura was the use of restored, discarded cameras in the filming and editing process.

Jan Švankmajer – Alice (1988) (10)

The point of my film had been apparently modest: to bring some attention back to dream, which modern civilisation had ceased to lay much store by, which society had tossed on the scrapheap of our psyche. After all, the last serious scholarly work on dreams, Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams, was almost a hundred years old! … Until we begin once more to tell fairy-tales and ghost-stories at bedtime; and to recount our dreams on waking up, there is now nothing to be hoped for from modern Atlantic civilisation. -Jan Švankmajer, Illustrating Alice, 2011.

Jan Švankmajer – Alice (1988) (11)

In 2006, Švankmajer was asked by a Japanese publishing house to illustrate both of Lewis Carroll’s Alice books. An excerpt from that Foreword elucidates the artist’s core philosophy:

Lewis Carroll’s Alice is one of the basic books of this civilisation, one of those we should take with us to a desert island, just in order to survive. It has taught dozens of generations of ‘atectonic’ children. I am no exception. And it’s not just a book for children. On the contrary, it is evidence that no specific ‘art for children’ actually exists, and that that notion is just commercial flimflam. We may only argue over whether this or that book (picture, film) is appropriate for children. Carroll’s Alice can be read at any age.

Jan Švankmajer – Alice (1988) (12)

The artist concludes that Alice continues to be an inexhaustible source of inspiration (as does his own childhood). Those creations that did not come from these sources have never left him fully satisfied and he feels that he must sit down in peace and quiet, pick up a pencil and start once again.

And so whenever in the course of our lifetime we pick the book up, it is, each time, a different book, a book with different contents, and yet it remains the Alice of our childhood. This is a miracle to be observed with only a tiny fraction of all the books ever written. -Jan Švankmajer, Illustrating Alice, 2011.

Jan Švankmajer – Alice (1988) (13)

In 1990, a BBC documentary was aired called The Animator of Prague. It describes some of Švankmajer’s influences—such as Bohemian ruler Rudolf II—and how Surrealist art is much more developed in Central Europe than in the West.

Jan Švankmajer – Alice (1988) (14)

*All quotes taken from Illustrating Alice were copyrighted and translated by David Short.

¹ In the interview, Švankmajer says the title of the film is Do sklepa which means roughly the same thing with a slightly different connotation. Interestingly, this error reflects his point that our perceptions of memories, stories and phrases change with time and we may find ourselves translating our ideas into our current context.

E. Gertrude Thomson, Lewis Carroll’s Other Illustrator

Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has had hundreds of illustrators since its initial publication, but for most readers the book will forever be linked to John Tenniel, its first illustrator. Despite the fame that Carroll’s book achieved in his lifetime with the help of Tenniel’s fantastic illustrations, Carroll and Tenniel never maintained anything but a working relationship. That cannot be said of E. Gertrude Thomson, the illustrator for a collection of poems Carroll had published in 1898, the same year he passed away, and most famously the designer and illustrator for the cover of The Nursery “Alice”, a revised edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland aimed at infants and toddlers which was first published in 1890, a fully twenty-five years after the original.

E. Gertrude Thomson – The Nursery Alice (cover)(1898)

Carroll had long been an admirer of Thomson’s illustrations of fairies for Christmas cards (it may seem an odd juxtaposition to have fairies on holiday cards, but let’s not forget the Victorian obsession with the fair folk, which Carroll certainly possessed), and later of one of his favorite books, William Allingham’s The Fairies—A Child’s Song, which can be viewed and read in its entirety at the Archive site.

E. Gertrude Thomson – The Fairies – A Child’s Song (1)(1883)

E. Gertrude Thomson – The Fairies – A Child’s Song (2)(1883)

E. Gertrude Thomson – The Fairies – A Child’s Song (3)(1883)

We have, in fact, an account by Thomson of her first meeting with Carroll, and it’s steeped in charm and authenticity:

A little before twelve I was at the rendezvous, and then the humour of the situation suddenly struck me, that I had not the ghost of an idea what he was like, nor would he have any better chance of discovering me! The room was fairly full of all sorts and conditions, as usual, and I glanced at each masculine figure in turn, only to reject it as a possibility of the one I sought. Just as the big clock had clanged out twelve, I heard the high vivacious voices and laughter of children sounding down the corridor.

At that moment a gentleman entered, two little girls clinging to his hands, and as I caught sight of the tall slim figure, with the clean-shaven, delicate, refined face, I said to myself, “That’s Lewis Carroll.” He stood for a moment, head erect, glancing swiftly over the room, then, bending down, whispered something to one of the children; she, after a moment’s pause, pointed straight at me.

Dropping their hands he came forward, and with that winning smile of his that utterly banished the oppressive sense of the Oxford don, said simply, “I am Mr. Dodgson; I was to meet you, I think?” To which I as frankly smiled, and said, “How did you know me so soon?”

“My little friend found you. I told her I had come to meet a young lady who knew fairies, and she fixed on you at once. But I knew you before she spoke.”

If that wouldn’t win one an immediate lifelong friendship, I don’t know what would. As it so happened, it did precisely that. In fact, Thomson and Carroll became such close friends that Miss Thomson, as Carroll generally referred to her, was one of the few people he invited to witness his photographing of children, even in the nude. Thomson was known to be present during several of these sessions with the Henderson sisters, for example, subjects of one of the few surviving nudes Carroll produced before he gave up photography for good in 1880, likely because of the rumors that had begun circulating about his passion for photographing little girls sans habillement.

From these sessions Thomson made several sketches which almost certainly became drawings for Three Sunsets and Other Poems (available in full at Project Gutenberg). These drawings bear a simplicity of execution and lack of background detail that allows the plump and innocent allure of the figures to shine.

E. Gertrude Thomson – Three Sunsets and Other Poems (cover)

E. Gertrude Thomson – Three Sunsets and Other Poems (1)

Carroll originally intended for all of the fairies to be female, owing to his revulsion to the male form. As he said to Thomson after seeing early versions of her drawings for the book:

If you would add to the hair, and slightly refine the wrist and ankles, it would make a beautiful girl. I had much rather have all the fairies girls, if you wouldn’t mind. For I confess I do not admire naked boys in pictures. They always seem to me to need clothes: whereas one hardly sees why the lovely forms of girls should ever be covered up!

There is certainly more than a touch of that old Victorian sexism in this confession, something that might have irked Miss Thomson. Given it was Carroll’s project for which Thomson was creating her illustrations, one can see why she would concede to his requests.  Nevertheless, several of them still do retain traces of more boyish fairies, including the image Carroll was commenting on here, the so-called “bower illustration,” the final version of which can be seen below.

E. Gertrude Thomson – Three Sunsets and Other Poems (2)

Most of the fairies, however, are undeniably feminine.

E. Gertrude Thomson – Three Sunsets and Other Poems (3)

E. Gertrude Thomson – Three Sunsets and Other Poems (4)

E. Gertrude Thomson – Three Sunsets and Other Poems (5)

E. Gertrude Thomson – Three Sunsets and Other Poems (6)


Allingham, William, The Fairies – A Child’s Song

Carroll, Lewis, The Nursery “Alice”

Carroll, Lewis, Three Sunsets and Other Poems

Cohen, Morton N., Lewis Carroll: A Biography

Cohen, Morton N. and Edward Wakeling, eds., Lewis Carroll & His Illustrators: Collaborations and Correspondence, 1865-1898

Collingwood, Stuart Dodgson, ed., The Life and Letters of Lewis Carroll (Rev. C.L. Dodgson)

More Than a Fairy Artist: Margaret Tarrant

Margaret Winifred Tarrant (1888–1959) was born in Battersea, England, on 19th August, 1888. She was the only child of Percy Tarrant, who was a famous landscape painter, and Sarah Wyatt.

There are no detailed biographies about the artist, despite her fame and prolific output, though we do know that she started her studies at Clapham High School and after graduating in 1905, continued her education at the Clapham School of Art. She briefly studied teaching, however her father believed she was unsuited to this profession and redirected her attention towards painting. Once established as an artist she studied at Heatherley’s School of Art from 1918 till 1923, as she believed a new school would improve her technique.

Margaret Tarrant - (Unknown Title) (1916)

Margaret Tarrant – (Unknown Title) (1916)

Margaret Tarrant - Dream Ships (date unknown)

Margaret Tarrant – Dream Ships (date unknown)

Tarrant’s first published works were Christmas cards and in 1908 she illustrated her first book, an edition of The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley. The following year she created a series of paintings that were published as postcards by C.W. Faulkner. Over the next decade the artist continued to paint for various postcard publishers and also made illustrations for several books. Many of these works were exhibited at the Royal Academy, the Walker Royal Society of Artists and the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists.

Margaret Tarrant - Prim Told Him Her Story (1951)

Margaret Tarrant – Prim Told Him Her Story (1951)

Margaret Tarrant - Peter and Friends (1921)

Margaret Tarrant – Peter and Friends (1921)

Margaret Tarrant - Good Morning Little Red Riding Hood (1951)

Margaret Tarrant – Good Morning Little Red Riding Hood (1951)

During the 1920s fairies became popularised, helped by the publication of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s book Do You Believe in Fairies? and Tarrant was a major part of this scene. During this decade she collaborated with Marion St. John Webb on a series of fairy books, which displayed images of fairies along with short stories and poems. The books were similar to Cecily Mary Barker’s, both artists were friends, however they differed as Tarrant’s pictures were less naturalistic, more stylised and in the Art Nouveau style. Fairy stories were not the only type of paintings that the artist produced, she also created illustrations for children’s stories, books about animals, poems and verses. Additionally, she created a series of wild flower postcards, that she considered to be her best work, and religious themes appeared often. Many examples of her religious paintings can be found in this Flickr album.

Margaret Tarrant - Sycamore (1920s)

Margaret Tarrant – Sycamore (1920s)

Margaret Tarrant - Grapes (1920s)

Margaret Tarrant – Grapes (1920s)

Margaret Tarrant - Yellow Horned Poppy (1920s)

Margaret Tarrant – Yellow Horned Poppy (1920s)

After 1920 the artist was working almost exclusively for the Medici Society, who turned her paintings into postcards, calendars, greeting cards and prints. In 1936 the Society sent her on a holiday to Palestine where she enjoyed sketching landscapes and street scenes, two subjects that she rarely painted prior to this trip.

Margaret Tarrant - The Animals That Talked (1951)

Margaret Tarrant – The Animals That Talked (1951)

Margaret Tarrant - Shepherd Pipes (1920s)

Margaret Tarrant – Shepherd Pipes (1920s)

Margaret Tarrant - Toinette Sat Very Still (1951)

Margaret Tarrant – Toinette Sat Very Still (1951)

During the 1940s Tarrant slowed her output, though she did donate a lot of paintings to the war effort and produced images for about six books. With her health and eyesight deteriorating she stopped working in the mid-1950s and died from Multiple Myeloma in July 1959, leaving some pictures to friends and the rest of her estate to twelve charities.

The artist worked in many media, including pen, watercolor, graphite and silhouette type drawings. Her work is still popular today and the Medici Society is still selling prints on it’s website.

Without Hypocrisy: Maximilian Esposito

Maximilian Esposito was born in Milan in 1969 and developed a passion for drawing and painting as a child. He attended a Liceo artistico (artistic lyceum) high school, receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1988. His early works represent populated dreamscapes of fantastic and mythological characters inspired by traditional fables of Europe.

Maximilian Esposito - Le Figure di Fantasia (1996) (1)

Maximilian Esposito – Le Figure di Fantasia (1996) (1)

Maximilian Esposito - Capitolo Primo (1989) (1)

Maximilian Esposito – Capitolo Primo (1989) (1)

In 1992, he discovered the mural and had the opportunity to decorate private apartments and public places in Milan and surrounding areas. His style expressed his talent and interest in theatrical stage effects. In 1994, he traveled to New York City where he discovered a restaurant named Trompe l’Oeil (Optical Illusion) in Greenwich Village. Intrigued by the name, he managed to get a contract to completely repaint the walls and ceiling of that restaurant.

Maximilian Esposito - Capitolo Sesto (Alice in Wonderland) (1994) (1)

Maximilian Esposito – Capitolo Sesto (Alice in Wonderland) (1994) (1)

Afterwards, he returned to Italy and began to practice yoga, opening a new chapter in his life. He dedicated himself to this craft and began teaching in Milan until 2012. Making another big change, he moved to Paris, initially devoting himself to photography but then rediscovering the pleasure of drawing, illustration and painting. Between 2013 and 2015, he produced several murals and illustrations, mostly in black-and-white. Yoga and art complement each other in his life—yoga serving as an art form and painting, a form of discipline and meditation.

Maximilian Esposito - Mural, Chaville, France (2013)

Maximilian Esposito – Mural, Chaville, France (2013)

In his youth, he loved to draw young girls—the classic Lolita one might say. But however provocative and erotic these may have been, they were never vulgar. The artist finds pornographic drawings banal and completely lacking in artistic depth. His greatest passion has been his indoor murals featuring female figures exclusively. Some have the quality of woodcut illustrations.

Maximilian Esposito - Capitolo Settimo (1995) (1)

Maximilian Esposito – Capitolo Settimo (1995) (1)

Maximilian Esposito - Disegni vari (1996) (1)

Maximilian Esposito – Disegni vari (1996) (1)

Two stories that have fascinated him the most were Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz. Although both stories have a fairy tale quality, they were creations of the last couple of centuries which carry with them a more modern perception of childhood. He had the idea of ​​creating an illustrated version of The Wizard of Oz in the early 1990s but never fully developed this project. Here are some conceptual drawings that reflect his special emphasis on medieval tradition.

Maximilian Esposito - Capitolo Sesto (Alice in Wonderland) (1994) (2)

Maximilian Esposito – Capitolo Sesto (Alice in Wonderland) (1994) (2)

Maximilian Esposito - Dorothy e altri Disegni (1990) (1)

Maximilian Esposito – Dorothy e altri Disegni (1990) (1)

Maximilian Esposito - Dorothy e altri Disegni (1990) (2)

Maximilian Esposito – Dorothy e altri Disegni (1990) (2)

After moving to Paris, he resumed his work as an illustrator and painter but this time focusing on the figure of the young boy. This little boy is androgynous, much more feminine than masculine, and its eroticism is a refined and dreamy. The artist cannot explain why his artistic sensibility has lead him to the young boy. It is simply a product of his imagination, having no parallels to his personal life.

Maximilian Esposito - Le petit garccedilon egravearmi les eacutetoiles (2015)

Maximilian Esposito – Le petit garçon parmi les étoiles (2015)

Although his subjects and backgrounds are fantastic, the artist manages to express his personality through his characters. They perform the role of pre-adolescents placed in different contexts. This age range offers the greatest emotional tension as they represent the transition between childhood and adulthood. It is the stage of life where the innocent games of youth give way to the anxieties of adult responsibility.

Maximilian Esposito - Dorothy e altri Disegni (1990) (3)

Maximilian Esposito – Dorothy e altri Disegni (1990) (3)

Maximilian Esposito - Disegni vari (1996) (2)

Maximilian Esposito – Disegni vari (1996) (2)

What makes his illustrations stand out are the intriguing compositions and the surreal elements incorporated into the works.

Maximilian Esposito - Capitolo Settimo (1995) (2)

Maximilian Esposito – Capitolo Settimo (1995) (2)

Maximilian Esposito - Capitolo Primo (1989) (2)

Maximilian Esposito – Capitolo Primo (1989) (2)

Maximilian Esposito - Capitolo Quinto (1993)

Maximilian Esposito – Capitolo Quinto (1993)

Unfortunately, very few seem to appreciate this kind of artistry today. And finding people and publishers to hire him has been a frustrating endeavor. Finding a site like Pigtails in Paint has given him some hope that some may appreciate his style. Whatever the future may hold, he is determined to continue to express his artistic universe sincerely and without hypocrisy. Should he gain sufficient recognition, he will be able to continue working on projects for which he is best suited—namely those that feature older children with a delicate disposition.

Maximilian Esposito - Le Figure di Fantasia (1996) (2)

Maximilian Esposito – Le Figure di Fantasia (1996) (2)

Although the artist often chooses popular subjects, readers will undoubtedly have questions about context and interpretation. Pigtails will be delighted to publish some of the more apt examples. You can visit these sites (here and here) for more samples of the artist’s work or for contact information should there be a suitable commission available.

Given the large time and conceptual gap between Esposito’s older and newer work, the artist has decided to establish a web page focusing on his older unpublished material which may be of interest to Pigtails readers.

Maiden Voyages: December 2015

A Growing Chorus: I have been pleased to see new authors come forward with new ideas.  Despite whatever first impressions a visitor might have, this site is in fact about the portrayal of little girls in the arts and media.  That is a very broad mandate and it should be understood that we try not to favor one particular art form over another nor are we exclusively about child nudity.  I want to thank Dimitri, Moko and Journey Darkmoon for their recent contributions.  Tomorrow, a post on a young Lolicon artist is being published.  I like the idea of encouraging new talent.  Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t, but I don’t want it said that Pigtails in Paint did not give an artist or writer his or her chance.

See Alice for Yourself: The British Library has informed us that in addition to owning the original manuscript to Alice’s Adventures Under Ground by Lewis Carroll since 1948, it is now in digitized form and can be viewed online by members of the public in its entirety. This was the precursor to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland mentioned in the post ‘Alice: A Personal View’.

Appeal Accepted: I have been informed that Graham Ovenden’s appeal to have his material reevaluated has been accepted by the British courts.  There is no date set, but professional legal counsel will be at Ovenden’s disposal to assist this time.  The Metropolitan Police has still not returned the artwork and materials ordered by Judge Roscoe.

Relearning Aesthetics: One of our contributors, Susan Adler, has recently been concerned about the lack of education regarding the classic symbolic function of youth in artistic imagery.  She wants to reintroduce people to this uplifting pre-modern aesthetic and make an argument for its continued relevance in current and future art forms.  You can take of a look at her early efforts here.

Alphonse Mucha Page: We were contacted by Artsy about a new artist page dedicated to Alphonse Mucha.  It provides visitors with Mucha’s biography, over 25 of his works, exclusive articles and up-to-date Mucha exhibition listings. It also includes the requisite related artist and category tags and links to other contemporary artists.  Artsy’s stated mission is to make the world’s art accessible online.  You can view Pigtails’ post on Mucha here.

Stigma: When we published a post on Scott Affleck, he was making a go at establishing his own gallery in the U.S.  Despite a skilled presentation of the young girl as a mythic symbol, buyers mostly wanted paintings featuring mundane themes—not much of a challenge for a serious artist.  In response, Affleck is attempting to reach out to a more sophisticated European audience.  To add insult to injury, a recent article in the March-April 2015 issue of Radius Magazine discusses some of his award-winning art.  However, even though the article mentions the significance of his painting Progression, they did not include a picture.  It seems art magazines are reluctant to present images of the child nude, even if it is relevant to the subject at hand and is legitimate art.

Empowerment and Damage Control: It is interesting that from time to time a company’s product should receive some flak from concerned citizens.  Often it is about pollution or treatment of workers, but sometimes it is about the image of the product itself.  This is certainly the case with Barbie.  Mattel has recently launched an advertising campaign to make Barbie an expression of empowerment for girls.  A video which appears on YouTube, has the requisite charm and plays at the empowerment of little girls, but not too much as to threaten the adults.

A Quick Anatomy Lesson Revisited: I was pleased to get some artist details on an unidentified sculpture of a girl holding two dachshunds from one of our readers.  For those who are interested, the revised post can be seen here.