Blog post

Do you love fairy tales?

Meet Queen Summer

Julia Schellenberg (opens in new window) (Europeana Foundation)

Did you love fairy tales growing up? Perhaps, as an adult, you still enjoy their magic, often brought to life through beautiful illustrations. There are plenty of fairy tales in Europeana but one, Queen Summer: The Tourney of the Lily and the Rose stands out.

An epic poem about the allegorical figure Queen Summer, the book was written and illustrated by the English painter Walter Crane (1845-1915). Crane is considered to be one of the most influential illustrators in the development of children's picture books. His books are now extremely rare and have become expensive collectors items.

The whole tale can be viewed via Europeana, but below, we’ve chosen some of the loveliest pages. Enjoy!

It's summertime and Queen Summer rules all the flowers in the land -


- she holds her court in a flower garden, where Rose and Lily compete. Both want to wear the summer crown - so they decide to fight for the honour -


- the flowers are armoured with lances and shields as they mount their horses for the tournament -


  • but the crowd of flowers cried for roses or for lilie’s life -


- until at last up rose the queen, and to each warrior she said “nor rose nor lily shall plant on high, but be side by side in equal right” -


All images are taken from Queen Summer or the tourney of the Lily and the Rose [...] by Walter Crane, 1891. National Library of France.