Once upon a time, fairy tales were not for children...
Using original archives and rare books from the University of Nottingham’s Manuscripts & Special Collections, From Rags to Witches: the Grim Tale of Children’s Stories will explore a range of children’s stories and traditional tales, from the beloved to the forgotten tales that never got a happily ever after.
The familiar versions of today can be very different from stories of sex, death and curses, that were so morally outrageous that in 1604 the Catholic Church placed one Italian fairy tale collection on its Index of Forbidden Books. The 16th century copy on display was published just before the ban was enforced, and contains some of the earliest surviving written versions of fairy tales.
Every story in the copy of Charles Perrault’s Tales of passed times by Mother Goose from 1796, author of Little Red Riding Hood, ends with a moral, but it isn’t always the moral you would expect.
Children’s books became beautiful in the 19th century, when illustrators such as Kate Greenaway became household names. Visitors can see some of her original pencil sketches, given to the University of Nottingham in remembrance of her childhood years spent at Rolleston in Nottinghamshire.
The free exhibition takes place Friday 4 May - Sunday 26 August at the Weston Gallery, Nottingham Lakeside Arts, University Park.
For more information, including gallery opening times, visit the Manuscripts and Special Collections website.