Flower Fairies (Sheila Evans)

Flower Fairies


“Flower Fairies™ are tiny creatures (the biggest is only 20cm tall) that live in the tree tops, marshes, forest floor, wayside and gardens. Wherever and whenever a seed sprouts, a Flower Fairy baby is born. Each Flower Fairy lives and sleeps in their chosen flower, plant or tree, and as this grows the fairy grows too.” (https://flowerfairies.com/)


Irene Mawer loved to encourage her younger students to express themselves through the portrayal of mystical and imaginary creatures, such as goblins, elves, witches and fairies.  I wonder if Miss Mawer was ever aware that one of her teenage students had once been a real fairy!


Sheila Evans, born in 1919 (please see previous blog post about her) was a Ginner-Mawer full-time student who was not able to continue with her training due to the on-set of the Second World War.  As a child, Sheila lived with her family in Croydon, London where she and her brothers attended a kindergarten run by Dorothy, who was the sister of Cicely Mary Barker.  


In the early 1920s, Cicely was in the process of creating a series of books which used her own beautiful illustrations of fairies.  The children in Dorothy’s kindergarten became the artist’s models for the delicate and sensitive paintings of fairies, each shown playing among their namesake flowers.


“(The illustrations) are notable in particular because of the sweet, realistic depiction of the children, modelled on children enrolled in her sister Dorothy’s kindergarten. She has also been likened to Beatrix Potter in the botanical accuracy of the plants and flowers amidst which the fairies dwell.” (Wikipedia)


Sheila Evans was the model for the Wild Thyme Fairy (please see the attached photo showing the Wild Thyme Fairy), and Sheila’s brothers were models for illustrations used in another of Cicely’s publications, the Fox Glove Book. 


In adult-hood, Sheila went on to write her own book; Cicely Mary Barker: A Croydon Artist.  The book is published under the name Sheila Glyn-Jones.  There was also a recorded interview at the Croydon Museum, where Sheila recounted her time with Cicely.  The museum kindly sent me a clip of the recording (which is public access), but my technical inability means that I have not been able to add it as a link.  Sorry.


I think Irene Mawer would have been thrilled to bits about Sheila’s connection to the fairy world and it is very sad that war prevented Sheila from completing her dance and drama studies, which she had loved so much.

Author: Janet Fizz Curtis

Janet Fizz Curtis is trained in the Irene Mawer Method of Mime and Movement and is now writing a book about the life of Irene Mawer.

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