Ida Rentoul Outhwaite – Blackberry Fairy- original watercolour, circa 1933

$3,600.00 AUD

Ida Rentoul Outhwaite (1888-1960)

The Blackberry Fairy   

Original watercolour, pen & pencil on paper,

signed lower left ‘I.R.O.’

Circa 1933

presently unframed


Condition: some browning to edges (earlier mount mark), paper integrity is good, displays well.

Provenance: Collection of the late John Rosenberg, Geelong, purchased later 20th century from a Melbourne Estate.

Ida Rentoul Outhwaite is a much-loved Australian Children’s Book Illustrator from the earlier 20th century. Born in Melbourne, she had her first illustration published – in the New Idea magazine – in 1903, when she was 15.  Her most famous works are the ink & watercolour illustrations for a large number of books, published in the 1920’s and 30’s, including The Enchanted Forrest and Fairyland.

This work has an underlying pencil sketch, with watercolour fill & final ink edging & detailing. It illustrates her method of working. The design may be the prototype for the watercolour reproduced in the 1933 book, ‘A Bunch of Wildflowers’ (Sydney, Angus & Robertson). It included 15 black & white reproductions of her ink drawings, and 6 colour reproductions of her watercolours.

The ‘Blackberry Fairy’ is one of these 6, and the printed version has a few small details different; the stamen of the forming fruit on the left branch have been coloured in yellow, the blackberries have been rendered in watercolour rather than straight black ink, and the flowers are reddish rather than the soft pink of the book print. She has also lost her shoes in the final version!


Outhwaite was also a poet: this poem on ‘Blackberries’ appeared in ‘The School Magazine’ NSW, April 1951: 


My petals are like snowflakes, have jewelled  heart,  

My stems are green and downy where you press  my flowers apart,  

But do be careful farther down, where my  great prickles start.  

I’m scarlet by the creek-side, and golden round  the dam,  

But it really doesn’t matter how beautiful am,  

When am old, and ripe, and fat, you make me  into jam.  





In stock