• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 5316

    Children's & Illustrated Books & Original Illustrations

    18 December 2008, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 102

    Kay Nielsen (Danish, 1886-1957)

    A huntsman vanquishes the seven-headed dragon

    Price Realised  


    Kay Nielsen (Danish, 1886-1957)
    A huntsman vanquishes the seven-headed dragon
    signed 'Kay.Nielsen.' (upper left) and inscribed 'Two brothers/The Two Brothers, Grimm/Then the dragon made a dart at the hunter, but he swung/his sword round & cut off three of the beast's heads' (on the reverse)
    pencil, pen and black ink and watercolour heightened with bodycolour, gold and silver, unframed
    15 x 10 5/8 in. (38.2 x 27 cm.)

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Kay Nielsen was born in Copenhagen but studied art in Paris before moving to England in around 1911 and then later to America. He was commissioned to produce illustrations for a number of well known fairy tales including Fairy Tales by Hans Anderson [1924] and Hansel and Gretel, and Other Stories by the Brothers Grimm [1925]. The present work is taken from the latter volume and depicts a scene from the tale of The Two Brothers. Here a hunstman slays a seven-headed dragon by cutting off each of his heads with a magical sword before rescuing a princess who has been offered as a sacrifice to the beast. Nielsen produced twelve colour plates for this collection of fairy tales, each demonstrates his skill as a colourist and his ability to interpret well known stories in a decorative and and inventive manner.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 19 February 1965, lot 24.


    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Hansel and Gretel and Other stories by the Brothers Grimm, Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1925, pl.12.