The fin de siècle styles also heralded in the Golden Age of Illustration, generally seen as lasting from 1880–1920. Because of the improvements in printing technology, it was far easier to reproduce artwork so items like posters & book illustrations became more largely circulated. At the same time, Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tales were still in print after his death in 1875; in 1893, the copyright for Grimms’ Fairy Tales lapsed, allowing for open publication.
Illustrators were frequently conscripted by publishers to decorate the stories, often using the same nature focus, curving lines, and bright colors familiar from the period architecture. This meeting of illustration, fin de siècle styles, and fairy tales created a defined style frequently associated with fantasy.
Anne Anderson, born in Scotland in 1874, grew up in Argentina. She returned to England with her only sister, Grace, to find work, which proved successful. Anne bought her own cottage in 1910 in Berkshire, two years later she married artist Alan Wright. His career was ruined by his contributions to a scandalous book, but she continued illustrating until at least 1926, with The Old Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme Book.
Virginia Sterrett was born in Chicago in 1900, she lived in Missouri, Chicago again, and California. She grew up introverted, favoring imagination and drawing. At 19, she got her first commission for Old French Fairy Tales published by Penn Publishing Company — 8 watercolors and 16 pen drawings plus cover, boards, and end papers for $750, an amount that would be over $10,000 in 2018. Unfortunately, she completed only two more commissions: Tanglewood Tales and Arabian Nights.
The artistic style captured in these illustrations combine with medieval artwork & Russian and German folklore to form our modern view of fairy tales. The 2012 film Mirror Mirror reflects the Art Nouveau impact particularly through the architecture and decorations of the castle & hideout sets.