Margaret Tarrant

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Margaret Winifred Tarrant
A middle aged woman smiling
Born19 August 1888
Battersea, London, England
Died28 July 1959
Cornwall, England
EducationClapham School of Art
Heatherley's School of Art
Guildford School of Art
OccupationChildren's author and illustrator
Christian artist
Years active1908–1952
Known forIllustrations of fairies, children, religious subjects
Notable work
The Water Babies
Forest Fairies
Nursery Rhymes
Parent(s)Percy Tarrant and Sarah Wyatt
Alice meets the White Rabbit by Margaret Winifred Tarrant, 1916

Margaret Winifred Tarrant (19 August 1888 – 29 July 1959) was an English illustrator, and children's author, specializing in depictions of fairy-like children and religious subjects. She began her career at the age of 20, and painted and published into the early 1950s. She was known for her children's books, postcards, calendars, and print reproductions.


Tarrant was born in Battersea, south London, the daughter of landscape painter Percy Tarrant and Sarah Wyatt Tarrant. She studied in the art department of Clapham High School and the Clapham School of Art. She briefly trained as a teacher, but turned to art instead. She studied at Heatherley’s School of Art, and at Guildford School of Art in 1935. She launched her career at age 20 with an edition of Charles Kingsley's The Water Babies.[1][2]

In the 1920s, Tarrant helped to popularize fairies in a long-running series of titles on the theme such as The Forest Fairies, The Pond Fairies, and The Twilight Fairies.[3] She was long associated with the Medici Society and many of her postcards, calendars, and children's books were published by the organization.[4] Following the death of both her parents in 1934, the Society sent her on a trip to Palestine to research material.[2] During World War II, she donated posters to the war effort, and rode an old bike to conserve petrol.

Selected publications[edit]


Book cover by Tarrant
  • The Water Babies (1908)
  • Autumn Gleanings from the Poets (1910)
  • Fairy Stories from Hans Christian Andersen (1910)
  • Contes (Charles Perrault, 1910)
  • The Pied Piper of Hamelin (Robert Browning, 1912)
  • Nursery Rhymes (1914)
  • A Picture Birthday Book for Boys and Girls (1915)
  • Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll, 1916)
  • The Tooksy and Mary Alice Tales (1919)
  • Our Day (1923)
  • Rhymes of Old Times (1925)
  • The Magic Lamplighter (Marion St John Webb, 1926)
  • An Alphabet of Magic (Eleanor Farjeon, 1928)
  • Mother Goose: Nursery Rhymes (1929)
  • The Margaret Tarrant Birthday Book (1932)
  • Joan in Flowerland (1935) co-written with Lewis Dutton[5]
  • The Margaret Tarrant Nursery Rhyme Book (1944)
  • The Story of Christmas (1952)


  • The Piper of Dreams
  • He Prayeth Best

The Wandering Minstrels, c. 1940

  • Morning Carol
  • Harvest home


  1. ^ Dalby 1991, p. 134
  2. ^ a b Ortlakes
  3. ^ Dalby 1991, pp. 133–4
  4. ^ Margaret Tarrant's Fairies Archived 2011-10-05 at the Wayback Machine (The Medici Society).
  5. ^ "Picture of Joan in Flowerland". Retrieved 12 January 2015.


External links[edit]