Sixième tableau - Le jardin féerique and Grand Daughters

Clarke Fairy Lamp 1880s
If you have been to some yard or estate sales, chances are that you ran into a Fairy Light.  In the 1830s a new type of candle was invented, short and squat with a base made of some plaster wrapping so the wax wouldn't spread and the chance of fire reduced.  The candle maker wanted an instant market so he also invented a pottery base of sorts with a glass or translucent top and sold the candle holders cheap while supplying the little candles as a premium...the razor/razor blade idea if you will.

The little nightlight candle lamps were dubbed "fairy lamps" and no household was without. The candle itself was called the "pyramid", probably because of its shape.  You can read more than you ever want to know about these at this link.  Actually the entire subject is pretty interesting. 

I got to thinking about fairy lamps this morning listening to a very nice piece of music by the French composer Ravel (he wrote the infamous Bolero for instance).  The piece in mind was "Ma Mère l'Oye" or "Mother Goose (Suite)".  The last movement is titled "The Enchanted Garden". (Sleeping Beauty awakened in her magic garden by the kiss of her prince perhaps?)

I thought of my grand daughters who, if given enough time in our back yard, would have it end to end fairy gardens.  Little houses made of bark and twigs, chairs from champagne retainers and carved corks, miniature carts, gardens...all sorts of things unreal and thoroughly imagined.

I wonder about fairy lights and fairy gardens some; the fascination perhaps more than anything, and the allure they hold for young minds.  The entire thing seems so gentle and soothing.  Lights on the Moors brought into the home, the nightlight of the future so to guide the way out into the garden where you can pull up a toadstool and look at the stars and dream.  Obviously grand and gentle tales for grand daughters.


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