Published On: Thu, Feb 12th, 2015 on 7:00 am

Artist turns famous Cottingley fairies into skeletal humanoids

A London-based artist has put her own spin on the famous Cottingley fairy photographs that had fooled the world.

Tessa Farmer has created tiny entomological sculptures made up of body parts of wasps and butterflies for the ‘In Fairyland’ exhibit at the Leeds College of Art.

Cottingley Fairies Tessa Farmer

Image: Leeds College of Art.

The intricate sculptures barely stand 1cm tall, and are displayed along with several other examples of ‘Cottingley art’ and the famous fairy photos themselves.

The exhibition was inspired by five photos taken in 1917 and 1920, which captured what appeared to be fairies frolicking by the local beck in a small village in Bradford.

For decades, there was much speculation about the authenticity of the photos and it wasn’t until the early 1980s that the girls who took them admitted that the first four were fakes.

But both of the girls, right up to their deaths, said that the fifth photo was authentic.

“I hope this show will reignite a sense of wonder”

Tessa said: “In Fairyland at Leeds College of Art has been such a delight to finally realise. It is magical and inspiring to witness my fairies so close, geographically, to those in the Cottingley fairy photographs, yet so far in terms of their evolution, appearance and habits.

“It is also wonderful to enter fairyland with international contemporaries like Annelies Strba and Sverre Malling. I hope this show will reignite a sense of wonder in all who visit.”

The exhibition is running from 30 January to 26 February at the Blenheim Walk Building at the Leeds College of Art.

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