Felix Hoffmann's The Sleeping Beauty

Felix Hoffmann's The Sleeping Beauty

I picked up this hardcover edition of The Sleeping Beauty at Second Edition Books in Butte, Montana this summer. It was illustrated in 1958 by Felix Hoffmann, a Swiss graphic designer,illustrator and stained glass artist.

The cover image of the book grabbed me - the sweet pose of the father holding his young daughter in such an ordinary way is so touching. He holds her like any average father in modern times would hold his child while checking out animals at the zoo. It’s natural and informal, unlike most fairy tale portraits about royals in medieval times. Usually the sleeping teenage princess would be the cover choice, and I was drawn to this tender interpretation. 

All the other pictures are just as unexpected and interesting, but I was sold on the full spread of the sleeping castle overgrown by thorn bushes. There is so much tiny detail to explore and get lost in - it makes you want to sit down right there and start drawing.

  Close up of the sleeping princess in the upper left corner of the castle above.

Close up of the sleeping princess in the upper left corner of the castle above.

The Grimm storyline presented here is gentler than the Disney version. There is no epic battle at the end. Several princes die in the thickets trying to force entry, but once the 100 years of sleep are over, all the thorns melt into flowers when the prince passes through. It’s a nice “things happen in their own good time” spin on the moral.

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The People Of Paper

Bart's Books

Bart's Books