Turkish Fairy and Folk Tales
Turkish Fairy Tales Cover


Turkish Fairy Tales and Folk Tales
collected by Dr. Ignácz Kunos, translated from Hungarian by R. Nisbet Bain, illustrated by Celia Levetus
(Lawrence & Bullen, 1901) 

Celia Levetus created nine illustrations for Turkish Fairy Tales and Folk Tales, a collection of spoken tales recorded from Hungarian and Romanian peasants by the historian Dr. Ignácz Kúnos in Anatolia, Turkey. Originally published in 1889 with an introduction by the Hungarian Professor Ármin Vámbery, this edition is an English translation by the historian and translator, Robert Nisbet Bain, published in 1901. Both Levetus’s illustrations and the book as a whole reflect Western Europe’s increasing appetite for the orient, aestheticism, and the pleasures of art and literature in general.

Vámbery’s and Nisbet Bain’s objectives in preserving oriental traditions before their disappearance in the wake of Western civilization were partly shared by Western artists who travelled to the Middle East to depict what they regarded as indigenous ‘treasures’. Pre-Raphaelite artists including Holman Hunt travelled to the East and painted detailed scenes of Middle Eastern everyday life. By depicting atmospheric cities and landscapes, and the ornamental interiors of mosques and palaces, they sought to communicate their beauty and help to cement their place in history. Levetus’s illustrations perform a similar function.

The final image is the artist's original as submitted to the press for publication, appearing here with the generous permission of the artist's family.

Caption by Eden Challenger

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Timeline of Events Associated with Turkish Fairy and Folk Tales


  • Celia Levetus

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