I have created illustrations in response to Christina Rossetti’s poem ‘The Goblin Market’ about two sisters who encounter a group of goblins in the woods. The goblins aim to tempt the sisters into buying and tasting some of their deadly fruits. Laura succumbs to temptation and falls ill, but is eventually saved by her sister Lizzie, in a selfless act of love.

Themes of temptation, sex, death and sisterhood run throughout the tale. The illustrations focus on portraying a more feminist reading of the poem, sympathising with the ‘fallen woman’ in Victorian society, who was often shunned, even told that she’d be better off dead, since nobody would desire to marry her. Making visual links to the biblical story of Adam and Eve, I have instead shown the sisters as pure figures whose actions are redeemable.

The illustrations were painted in gouache, layered with coloured pencil, charcoal and oil pastels. I am endlessly inspired by old fairy-tale pictures from the ‘Golden Age of Illustration’ as well as the flat, patterned surfaces of folk art and medieval tapestries. My work hopes to continue the long tradition of the children’s storybooks, full of narrative-rich images.


Rydw i wedi creu darluniau mewn ymateb i gerdd Christina Rossetti ‘The Goblin Market’ am ddwy chwaer sy’n dod ar draws grŵp o gorachod yn y coed. Maen nhw’n ceisio temtio’r chwiorydd i brynu a blasu rhai o’u ffrwythau marwol. Mae Laura yn ildio i demtasiwn ac yn mynd yn sâl, ond yn cael ei hachub gan ei chwaer Lizzie, mewn gweithred o gariad anhunanol.

Gwelir themâu temtasiwn, rhyw, marwolaeth a chwaeroliaeth yn y stori. Mae’r lluniau’n canolbwyntio ar gyflwyno darlleniad mwy ffeministaidd o’r gerdd, gan gydymdeimlo â’r ‘ferch bechadurus’ yng nghymdeithas Oes Fictoria, a oedd yn cael ei hanwybyddu’n aml. Dywedwyd wrthi y byddai’n well yn farw gan na fyddai neb am ei phriodi hi. Drwy wneud cysylltiadau gweledol â stori Adda ac Efa yn y Beibl rydw i wedi cyfleu’r chwiorydd fel merched diwair a’i bod hi’n bosib iddyn nhw wneud iawn am eu gweithredoedd.

Cafodd y darluniau eu peintio mewn gouache, eu haenu gyda phensil lliw, siarcol a phastelau olew. Rwy’n cael fy ysbrydoli’n barhaus gan hen luniau hudolus o Oes Aur Darlunio, ac arwynebau gwastad, patrymog celf gwerin a thapestrïau canoloesol. Gobeithio bod fy ngwaith yn sicrhau dilyniant y traddodiad hir o lyfrau stori i blant, yn llawn o luniau cyfoethog eu naratif.