The English artist Cicely Mary Barker is best known for her enchanting and magical illustrations of flower fairies. Born in 1895, Cicely suffered from epilepsy as a child and although unable to attend school she was encouraged by her father (an established artist himself) to pursue her talent as a painter. She was enrolled at the Croydon Art Society when she was just 13, and by the age of 16 she had her first work published as a set of postcards.
Influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites, Cicely believed in staying true to nature, and therein lies the charm of the flower fairies, which were illustrated with utmost botanical accuracy, as she wrote "I have drawn all the plants and flowers very carefully, from real ones; and everything that I have said about them is true as I could make it. But I have never seen a fairy; the fairies and all about them are just 'pretend'."