Ace of hearts: "Snow White"
German Fairy tale first published by the Brothers Grimm in 1812. A beautiful naive girl, an envious stepmother queen, a B & E, seven...
German Fairy tale first published by the Brothers Grimm in 1812. A beautiful naive girl, an envious stepmother queen, a B&E, seven dwarfs, two murder attempts, one murder, a prince, a resurrection, a pair of red hot iron shoes (and a partridge in a pear tree ;) ). The ending of the original story came as quite a shock to me; it's not the one most of us are familiar with! I decided to focus on the poison apple for this illustration rather than Snow White herself. I tried to find very iconic symbols (or characters) from fairy tales that would transform into strong graphics for each of the ace cards in the deck. The poison apple, merged with a heart, seemed like the perfect fit. Read my summary of the tale HERE, or the full version here:
Two of hearts: "Heart of Stone"
Fairy Tale by Wilhelm Hauff published in 1827. A tale I hadn’t read before creating this deck. In my illustration I have depicted the...
Fairy Tale by Wilhelm Hauff published in 1827. A tale I hadn’t read before creating this deck. In my illustration I have depicted the two hearts from the story: Peter’s anatomical one and the stone that replaced it after he made a deal with evil Dutch Mike. There is a hint of the Black Forest in the background. You can read my brief synopsis HERE, and the original story here:
Three of hearts: "Rumpelstiltskin"
Published in 1812 by the Brothers Grimm. A poor girl who is under great pressure and threat of death to spin straw into gold with a...
Published in 1812 by the Brothers Grimm. A poor girl who is under great pressure and threat of death to spin straw into gold with a spinning wheel makes a deal with a mischievous imp. In return for her firstborn child he spins straw into gold for her. When her child is born the imp comes to collect but the girl refuses so the imp gives her the chance to forfeit the deal if she correctly guesses his name (assuming she won’t be able to). The girl craftily finds out his name and Rumpelstiltskin is so enraged that he, depending on the version, either flies away, tears himself in half or creates a great hole in the ground which he falls into. Featured in the illustration are the girl who was asked to do the impossible, the spinning wheel which must have caused her incredible PTSD and the irritatingly over-confident Rumpelstiltskin. Read the tale here:
four of hearts: "Beauty and the Beast"
A fairy tale that was originally written by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve and published in 1740 as "La Belle et La Bete"...
A fairy tale that was originally written by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve and published in 1740 as “La Belle et La Bete”. The original story was then shortened and rewritten by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont in 1756. It was again adapted by Andrew Lang and published in 1889. There aren’t too many female authors on this list so, yay to the four of hearts! Beauty is pictured in the silhouette of the beast and both are surrounded by hearts. Between them is the rose which Beauty’s father stole from the beast to give to her (because of this theft Beauty had to go and live with the beast). You can read my synopsis HERE, or a version of the original story here:
five of hearts: "Cinderella"
A.K.A. “The Little Glass Slipper” This story has a very long history. The very first version is believed to have been recorded sometime...
A.K.A. “The Little Glass Slipper” This story has a very long history. The very first version is believed to have been recorded sometime around the first century in Greece. The version we are familiar with today was originally published by Charles Perrault in 1697. In 1812 The Brothers Grimm made changes to Perrault’s and published a Germanic version of the tale. The Perrault version includes the pumpkin coach, the animals that were transformed into coachmen and the fairy godmother, and has a rather sweet ending that focuses on forgiveness. The Brothers Grimm version is more gruesome and vengeful and includes blood, amputation, cruel and unusual punishment and ends with a crescendo of violent blinding. Definitely not the Cinderella story some of us are used to! My illustration is based on Perrault’s version but both are worth a read. See Perrault’s here:
and The Brothers Grimm here:
and The Brothers Grimm here:
six of hearts: "The Nutcracker"
Everybody’s favourite festive filbert cracking soldier! The story was written by E.T.A. Hoffmann and was published in 1818 as "The...
Everybody’s favourite festive filbert cracking soldier! The story was written by E.T.A. Hoffmann and was published in 1816 as “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King”. The first Nutcracker ballet took place in Russia in 1892. The score was written by Tchaikovsky and further popularized in Disney’s Fantasia. I have depicted a classic nutcracker on a stage to pay homage to the ballet with which this tale is so ubiquitous. As for symbols I have included Christmas holly and the 7 crowns that belonged to the 7 headed Mouse King.
seven of hearts: "Arabian Nights"
A.K.A. “One Thousand and One Nights”, Arabian Nights is a compilation of Middle Eastern Folk tales which was put together in...
A.K.A. “One Thousand and One Nights,. Arabian Nights is a compilation of Middle Eastern Folk tales which was put together in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age (between the 8th-14th centuries). It was brought to Europe and translated to English in the 18th century. This piece depicts Scheherazade, the protagonist in the story that binds the compilation together. Scheherazade is often seen as the creator of the “cliffhanger” in storytelling. I read this story and pictured Scheherazade in a lavish room in front of a window, with billowing red curtains, that overlooked Middle Eastern architecture against a starry night sky, so this is exactly how I drew her. As for symbols, “The Three Apples” is one of the tales that Scheherazade told the king which is why 3 apples are depicted in my illustration. You can read my blurb on Arabian Nights HERE
eight of hearts: "Romeo and Juliet"
Written by William Shakespeare and originally published in 1597. I have depicted the tragic lovers in mid-kiss surrounded by hearts...
nine of hearts: "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland"
Published in 1865, written by Lewis Carroll. This is one of my favourite stories and has popped up in my art countless times. An...
Published in 1865, written by Lewis Carroll. This is one of my favourite stories and has popped up in my art countless times. An absolutely enthralling and abstract tale which has so much potential for artistic inspiration. In this particular illustration I have included the blue caterpillar, the white rabbit, the Cheshire cat, the flamingo croquet mallet, roses, lots of mushrooms and little hints of the mad hatter and his tea time. I chose to include Alice in the suit of hearts as a nod to the Queen of Hearts. Surrounding Alice with diamonds, clubs, spades and hearts seemed only fitting since playing cards are one of the central themes in this story. Although Alice is surrounded by all 4 suits, there are only 9 hearts represented to correspond with the number of this card.
ten of hearts: "The Red Shoes"
Fairy Tale by Hans Christian Andersen published in 1845. This tale is about a girl who chooses vanity over piety and is cursed to...
Fairy Tale by Hans Christian Andersen published in 1845. This tale is about a girl who chooses vanity over piety and is cursed to dance ceaselessly in a pair of beloved red shoes. Eventually she has her own feet cut off to cure her of the curse. I am particularly interested in bouts of mass hysteria in history and this tale immediately brought to mind the dancing plague of Strasbourg which happened in the 1500s. During the “outbreak” numerous people spontaneously broke into uninterrupted dance which lasted for days. One attempted cure for this epidemic was to march the afflicted to a shrine where they were given a pair of anointed red shoes. Hmmm, I wonder if there’s a link between that bizarre dancing plague and this bizarre fairy tale. At the beginning of the story the protagonist has a humble pair of red shoes that she absolutely loves and these are depicted on one side of my illustration. On the other side is the cursed pair she acquires later in life. The tale ends in a church so I have separated the 2 sides of the piece with a stained glass inspired panel. You can read the tale in its entirety here:
jack of hearts: "Robin Hood"
The tale of Robin Hood, a vigilante of sorts, has been around for ages with his origin dating back to the 13th or 14th century. There...
The tale of Robin Hood, a vigilante of sorts, has been around for ages with his origin dating back to the 13th or 14th century. There have been numerous depictions and adaptations of him and his story over the years but his “kind outlaw” persona and “steal from the rich and give to the poor” mantra seem to be pretty consistent. He is usually depicted as an archer which is why I have surrounded him with heart shaped arrows in my interpretation.
queen of hearts: "Rapunzel"
Collected by the Brothers Grimm and published in 1812. Another "trade your firstborn for something ridiculous" tale, in this case a...
Collected by the Brothers Grimm and published in 1812. Another "trade your firstborn for something ridiculous" tale, in this case a baby for some leafy greens. Don't worry, after a tumultuous story which includes a tower imprisonment, a love lost, a blinding, some very long hair and single motherhood in a desert, everything works out fine in the end. I have depicted Rapunzel and her trademark long locks in the foreground and the tower in which she was imprisoned in the background. Read my synopsis HERE, and the original tale here:
king of hearts: "King Arthur"
The first mention of King Arthur was written by Nennius c.800 and the first real account of his life appears to be by Geoffrey of...
The first mention of King Arthur was written by Nennius c.800 and the first real account of his life appears to be by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the 12th century from a book called “History of the Kings of Britain”. It was Chretien de Troyes that tied Arthur to the Quest for the Holy Grail. The story of King Arthur, which takes place in the 6th c, has inspired artists and writers for over a thousand years so there have been countless versions of the legend; which made this a very lofty tale to tackle. Although there is some debate about whether King Arthur was based on an existing historical figure, the general consensus is that the tale and the man are fictional. That being said, in my mind, Arthurian legend fits well into the realm of the fairy tale. I knew this important character should hold a place of prominence in my deck and since I feel there is a lot of passion behind the man and the story I decided to make him the King of Hearts. Also illustrated in the piece are Excalibur, the Holy Grail, Merlin and Guinevere. The little round heart medallion in the centre of the illustration represents Arthur’s famous round table.