Cicely Mary Barker (1895-1973) was an English illustrator best known for a series of fantasy illustrations depicting fairies and flowers. Barker's art education began in girlhood with correspondence courses and instruction at the Croydon School of Art. Her earliest professional work included greeting cards and juvenile magazine illustrations, and her first book, "Flower Fairies of the Spring," was published in 1923. She later published “Flower Fairies of the Summer”, and “Flower Faires of the Autumn.” She also created “Flower Fairies of the Winter,” but it was not published untl after her death.
Barker was a devout Anglican, and donated her artworks to Christian fundraisers and missionary organizations. She produced a few Christian-themed books such as The Children’s Book of Hymns and, in collaboration with her sister Dorothy, He Leadeth Me. Her lovely images of the nativity have been popular Christmas cards for many years here at the Laughing Elephant.
She designed a stained glass window for St. Edmund's Church, Pitlake, and her painting of the "Christ Child, The Darling of the World Has Come," was purchased by Queen Mary. Barker was equally proficient in watercolour, pen and ink, oils, and pastels. Kate Greenaway and the Pre-Raphaelites were the principal influences on her work, but through her obvious love of nature and her sensitive and skillful rendering of children, she developed a distinctive style of her own; one with appeal that has lasted a century.