5 December 2008
NIELSEN, Kay (1886-1957).
[The Marsh King's Daughter]
ink, pencil and watercolor, heightened with gold, on paper, matted (laid-down, small repaired tear along top edge, some paint along border chipped).
14 7/8 x 10¾ in. (379 x 270 mm), image size
An unpublished illustration for "The Marsh King's Daughter," a fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen in 1858, and one of those closest to his heart. In the story, a group of storks acting as a Greek chorus, tell the tale of Helga, daughter of the Marsh King, who is a beautiful and violent girl by day, but a sad and gentle frog by night. She is redeemed after saving the life of a Christian priest doomed to be sacrificed by the Vikings, and here Andersen touches on the themes of faith and immortality so common in his writings. Kay Nielsen spent over 10 years working on his illustrations to Andersen's Fairy Tales, which was published in 1924. "The Marsh King's Daughter" is not included in this edition.
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