Margaret Winifred Tarrant (1888-1959) had a varied and prolific career as one of the “Golden Age” children’s book illustrators, starting out at the tender age of 20 as the illustrator of Charles Kingsley’s Water Babies (1908).
The only child of the landscape painter Percy Tarrant and his wife Sarah Wyatt, Margaret was heavily influenced and encouraged by her father to pursue art; she first studied art at the Clapham School of Art and then later at Heatherley’s School of Art and the Guildford School of Art, both in London. She was very popular during the 1920’s and 1930’s for her romantic illustrations of children, fairies, religious subjects and animals and she came to be a good friend of Cicely Mary Barker, herself famous for fairy art. Throughout her long and productive career, she produced illustrations for approximately 60 books; additionally she illustrated calendars, greeting cards, postcards and posters. A favorite illustration, the Piper of Dreams, sold in the multiple thousands as popular parlor art in many English homes and the illustrations from her Nursery Rhymes (the book from which these plates were taken) were reissued as postcards and those were also extremely popular.