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Kay Nielsen: Art for Fairy Tales, Myths and Legends



Kay Nielsen (1886-1957) is considered by many to be among the leading artists associated with the Golden Age of Illustration.


The Kay Nielsen Collection at Spirit of the Ages includes art images from some of Nielsen's seminal work illustrating fairy tales, myths

and legends. As a valuable reference resource, options are also provided for purchasing a range of gifts, including reproductions of

illustrations by Nielsen on prints, posters and cards.


Nielsen's first published commission included a suite of monotone and full colour illustrations for "In Powder and Crinoline" (1913) -

a collection of modern fairy tales compiled by Arthur Quiller-Couch. A year later, his illustrations for the Norse fairy tales collected by

Asbjörnsen and Moe - "East of the Sun and West of the Moon" - considered by many to be among his masterpieces -  were

published. Following World War I, Nielsen produced other great works, including illustrations for "Fairy Tales by Hans Andersen",

and other collections of fairy tales published in "Hansel and Gretel and other stories by the Brothers Grimm" and "Red Magic".


Kay Nielsen (vintage photograph)

Nielsen also prepared illustrations for titles that were not fated for publication in books - the first four such

illustrations we are able to show were displayed initially at his first London exhibition and include images from

his "Book of Death" suite and illustrations for the tragic tale of Pierrot.


We also show illustrations prepared by Nielsen to a special commission of fairy tale illustrations for the 1913

Christmas Edition of "The Illustrated London News", entitled "Perrault in Powder and Patch: Famous and

Familiar Stories in their Proper Guise". Another three very special images we show were prepared by

Nielsen in 1914 to illustrate "Scenes from the Life of Joan of Arc" and were published with text from

"The Monk of Fife" - a romance of the days of Jeanne D'Arc. A further suite of images was prepared by

Nielsen prior to 1923 for a version of Scheherazadè's classic Persian fairy tales - "Thousand Nights and

a Night" - that was not published due to scarce resources in Denmark following World War I.



To the left, we show a vintage photograph of Kay Nielsen



'Kay Nielsen's Story: In his own words' appeared in "Contemporary Illustrators of Children's Books" (1930) and  makes interesting

reading on Nielsen's early career and artistic influences.


Following his emigration to the United States, Nielsen found work with Disney developing concept artwork for a number of fairy tale

projects. The most recognised work with Disney from Nielsen may be the "Bald Mountain/Ave Maria" sequence in "Fantasia". Nielsen

did, however, also contribute artwork for projects following "Fantasia", including what has been identified as its potential sequel,

"The Ride of the Valkyries" (this did not go beyond the concept stage), "Sleeping Beauty" and "The Little Mermaid".


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After Nielsen separated from Disney in the early 1940s, his substantial artistic work seems to have been restricted to a number of commissions for major murals

throughout California.


We invite you to take the time to peruse the wonderful artwork from Kay Nielsen that is included in the Collection - to view images from any one of Nielsen's suites or

individual illustrations listed below, simply 'click' on the hyperlinks embedded within the titles and the images. By following the hyperlinks, you will also find further

information about Kay Nielsen, his illustrations and options for purchasing Fine Art Posters and Greeting Cards.



Published illustrations by Kay Nielsen depicting fairy tales, myths and legends


Kay Nielsen

"In the Autumn of Youth:

Fallen Leaves"

1 image

Kay Nielsen

"In Powder and Crinoline"

41 images

"The Drawings of Kay Nielsen"

4 images

Kay Nielsen

"Perrault in Powder and Patch"

4 colour images

Kay Nielsen

"East of the Sun and

West of the Moon"

47 images

Kay Nielsen - ''In the Autumn of Youth - Fallen Leaves''Kay Nielsen - 'This good Fairy placed her own baby in a cradle of roses and gave command to the Zephyrs to carry him to the tower' for the tale 'Felicia; or, The Pot of Pinks' in ''In Powder and Crinoline'' (1913)Kay Nielsen - ''Shadows of the Night''Kay Nielsen - ''Le Chat Botte'' (''Puss in Boots'')Kay Nielsen - 'She could not help setting a door a little ajar, just to peep in, when - Pop! out flew the Moon' for the tale 'The Lassie and her Godmother' in ''East of the Sun and West of the Moon'' (1914) 

Kay Nielsen

"Scenes from the Life of

Joan of Arc"

3 colour images

Kay Nielsen

"Thousand Nights and a Night"

42 images

Kay Nielsen

"Fairy Tales by Hans Andersen"

28 images

Kay Nielsen

"Hansel and Gretel and other

stories by the Brothers Grimm"

22 images

Kay Nielsen

"Red Magic"

58 images

Kay Nielsen - ''How Joan the Maid of Lorraine saw visions and was called upon to deliver France'' Kay Nielsen - 'On his travels the Sultan meets a beautiful girl who is the captive of a Genie' for the Prologue of ''Thousand Nights and a Night''Kay Nielsen - colour illustration for 'The Real Princess' in ''Fairy Tales by Hans Andersen'' (1923)Kay Nielsen - 'They wrote her name upon it, in golden letters, and that she was a king's daughter' for the tale 'Snowdrop' in ''Hansel and Gretel and other stories by the Brothers Grimm'' (1925)Kay Nielsen - 'St George and the Dragon' for the tale 'St George and the Dragon' in ''Red Magic'' (1930) 




Kay Nielsen

"The Apple"

1 image

Kay Nielsen - ''The Apple''     


Paintings, drawings and other artwork by Kay Nielsen depicting fairy tales, myths and legends


Kay Nielsen

"A Seated Girl and a Monkey"

1 image

Kay Nielsen

"Kama Sutra"

1 image

Kay Nielsen

"Deserted Moment"

1 image

Kay Nielsen

"La Belle au Bois Dormant"

1 image

Kay Nielsen

"The Blue Belt"

1 image

Kay Nielsen - ''A Seated Girl and a Monkey''Kay Nielsen - ''Kama Sutra''Kay Nielsen - ''Deserted Moment''Kay Nielsen - ''The Enchanted Castle'' for the tale ''Sleeping Beauty''Kay Nielsen - 'The Lad in the Bear's Skin, and the King of Arabia's daughter' for the tale 'The Blue Belt' in ''East of the Sun and West of the Moon'' 

Kay Nielsen

"The Widow's Son"

1 image

Kay Nielsen

"The Faun"

1 image

Kay Nielsen

"The Marsh King's Daughter"

1 image

Kay Nielsen

"The Little Match Girl"

1 image

Kay Nielsen

"The Story of a Mother"

1 image

Kay Nielsen - 'When he had walked a day or so, a strange man met him, 'Whither way? asked the man' for the tale 'The Widow's Son' in ''East of the Sun and West of the Moon''Kay Nielsen - ''The Faun''Kay Nielsen - ''The Marsh King's Daughter''Kay Nielsen - ''The Little Match Girl''Kay Nielsen - ''The Story of a Mother'' 

Kay Nielsen

Concepts for


27 images

Kay Nielsen

Concept for

''The Ride of the Valkyries"

1 image

Kay Nielsen

Concepts for

''The Little Mermaid"

35 images

Kay Nielsen

Concept for

''The Little Mermaid"

1 image

Kay Nielsen

Concept for

''Sleeping Beauty"

2 images

A Kay Nielsen concept design for ''Fantasia''A Kay Nielsen concept design for ''The Ride of the Valkyries''A Kay Nielsen concept design for ''The Little Mermaid''An advanced concept design by Kay Nielsen for ''Little Mermaid''A Kay Nielsen concept design for ''Sleeping Beauty'' 

Kay Nielsen

"The First Spring"

3 images

Kay Nielsen

"Wong Bookplate"

1 image

Kay Nielsen - ''The First Spring''Detail from the Kay Nielsen bookplate for Mayme and Thomas Wong depicting Hans Christian Andersen    


Purchasing our Posters and Cards showcasing the art of Kay Nielsen for fairy tales, myths and legends


When presented on Cards - including Greeting and Note Card - these images are prepared as tipped-on plates - in 'hommage' to the hand-crafted approach typical of

prestige illustrated publications produced in the early decades of the 20th Century. Each card is hand-finished and the images are presented on Ivory card stock (in the

case of colour illustrations) or White card stock (in the case of monotone images) with an accompanying envelope.


Each of our Fine Art Posters is prepared with archival quality papers and inks.


Should you wish to order posters or cards, we have provided options throughout the site. To purchase, simply click on the appropriate "Add to Cart" button and you will

be taken through to our Shopping Cart secured through PayPal. Multiple purchases will be consolidated by that feature and shipping and handling costs to any destination

in the world are accommodated by our flat-rate fee of US$20 for every US$200 worth of purchases.


Of course, should you wish to discuss some customised options, we welcome your contact on any matter through email by ThePeople@SpiritoftheAges.com.


In the meantime, enjoy perusing these wonderful images from Kay Nielsen.




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