Kay Nielsen, 'You'd Best Go Down to the Gardener'/'A Giant Seated on a Rock'

Kay Nielsen, 'You'd Best Go Down to the Gardener'/'A Giant Seated on a Rock'

Kay Nielsen (1886-1957)
'You'd Best Go Down to the Gardener' /'A Giant Seated on a Rock'
Probably 1916
Pen and ink on paper
Illustrations probably for 'The Widow's Son' and 'Billy Goats Gruff' in 'East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon, Old Tales from the North' by Peter Christen Asbjornsen (publication unknown)
Museum nos. E.508-1916, E.509-1916

The Widow's Son is a traditional Norse tale and an appropriate choice for Danish-born Kay Nielsen to illustrate. Nielsen's Scandinavian roots inspired him to become an illustrator. As a child he drew Viking sagas as they were read aloud to him. He was also influenced by Swedish fairytale artist John Bauer and later became known for his own fairytale illustrations, published as limited edition gift-books by Hodder and Stoughton from 1913.

This image also shows elements of Art Nouveau. Nielsen studied in Paris at a time when Art Nouveau was still influential. He combined the Art Nouveau style with patterns inspired by Japanese art, also in vogue at the time.

These images can be found in Prints and Drawings Study Room box EDUC 1.