I’ve been revisiting the poem Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti after a number of years – I first studied the poem at art college over a decade ago, as part of a self-initiated degree project, and my fascination with the dark children’s tale continues.
This illustration wasn’t planned. I knew I wanted to illustrate Laura and Lizzie, so began sketching the sisters, and subconsciously the hair grew into trees and menacing little goblin men started appearing in the woods.
An excerpt from the poem:
“Evening by evening
Among the brookside rushes,
Laura bow’d her head to hear,
Lizzie veil’d her blushes:
Crouching close together
In the cooling weather,
With clasping arms and cautioning lips,
With tingling cheeks and finger tips.
“Lie close,” Laura said,
Pricking up her golden head:
“We must not look at goblin men,
We must not buy their fruits:
Who knows upon what soil they fed
Their hungry thirsty roots?”
“Come buy,” call the goblins
Hobbling down the glen.”
I used pencil, ink and watercolour paint before scanning and editing the image digitally.
was written by Christina Rossetti, published in 1862, and originally illustrated by her brother Dante Rossetti. Lawrence Housman and Arthur Rackham also illustrated Goblin Market. You can read the full Goblin Market poem here
I’d love to hear what you think?