Wednesday, 16 January 2013


Icicles on a thatched cottage nearby

As most of England is covered in a hard frost and snow is foretold for this weekend it is not surprising that thoughts have turned to the character Jack Frost, or Father Frost as he is sometimes known.

Father Winter by ~alexson1 on deviantART,
Ivan Bilibin's watercolor illustration, "Father Frost" from Tales of Russian Grandmother,
Jack Frost by Arthur Rackham

Folklore on Jack's character is mingled with that of Father Winter and St Nicholas. The story has some origin in Russia folktales where Father Frost is in fact the same as St Nicholas, known to us as Santa Claus. But this Santa is quite different from the jolly fat man in a red suit who shimmies down our chimneys on Christmas Eve. This one is more of a pagan forest figure.

A Russian illustration of Father Frost, a Pixie rendition by unknown artist
and Jack casting his frosty fingers over all,  by Arthur Rackham.

Jack Frost is also seen as a kind of sprite in a pointy hat who mischieviously paints frost on Autumn leaves thus bringing winter to the land. He's close to being a male version of The Snow Queen, but perhaps not as evil as she is usually portrayed, as in Narnia. Although some versions of him are quite scary and spiky!

Spiky Jack, artist unknown to us. 

There is nothing to do but, stay warm,

Enjoy the art of Jack Frost,

Settle down with a good book,

Girl with a Book. Pietro Antonio Rotari (1707-1762).

And don't forget to feed the birds! 

1929 Louis Icart (French, 1888-1950) ~ Les Frileux (The Chilly Ones)


  1. Love this post. Jack Frost is quite the character -- being very active this year. You find the most marvelous illustrations -- especially those by Arthur Rackham -- one of my favorites too. Bring on the books and tea!

  2. A thatched roof with icicles? It is utterly charming! You have shown the delight of a warm fire when the weather is frigid. Definitely put on those warm wooly socks and do not forget to curl up with a warm kitty.


  3. You have Mrs. Black to keep you warm on a cold winter's night! :) And there are always wonderful warm, woolly socks! (Sometimes i wear a pair to be these days. I know, unsexy, but i like warmth.) lol. I love your pic of the thatched cottage. I'd like to go in..

  4. Great graphics and words telling tales of Jack Frost. A mysterious character indeed. He has been playing havoc here in upstate New York too. Stay warm and cozy and safe.

  5. My, oh, my, what a lovely post. Sometimes I like to go to the library and sit in the children's book section and just look through some of the wonderful art that is hidden between the pages of children's storybooks.
    Enjoy the season . . . it will some be spring and then the work begins:)
    Your blogging sister, Connie

  6. Ooh Bilibin and Rackham in one post! Marvelous. I collect Russian Fairytale books and love beautiful illustration so this post is very welcome. And yes, we must look after the birds...keep warm,

    Sarah -x-

  7. Gorgeous images!
    I always imagined Jack Frost as an impish fellow - tricky but not malicious or frightening.

  8. Dear Minerva, I love those beautiful illustrations - and the one of 'Spiky Jack' is double enchanting because I see also a picture of the frost on window panes in it.
    Frost isn't gentle - he has great power. But also beauty - if you have a crackling fire in the fireplace.

  9. Those are some wonderful illustrations - thanks so much for this :)

    - Scott from Midnight Folklore

  10. Wow, stunning images!
    Just off to feed the birds now...
    Keep warm, Essie x

  11. A lovely post, I'd almost forgotten about've nudged my childhood memories! thank you dear Minerva! Have a lovely albeit frosty weekend! Sharon x

  12. Lovely pictures and you are right about Santa.


  13. I love the illustrations, especially the one with a pixie is painting leaves. What a lovely image of socks in front of the fire! : )

  14. These pictures are just beautiful - I particularly like the first one. I am certainly following the list of what to do - stay warm, feed birds, read book! Can I knit a hat as well?

  15. Thank you to all of you for such nice comments - hope you are all warm and enjoying family, friends, pets and a fire! Minerva x

  16. Such a lovely post. The photos are lovely and take me back to when I lived in a thatched cottage...oh I miss Sweetbriar in the winter! Take care and keep warm. Chel x

  17. These are such wonderful illustrations and paintings. I also had forgotten about Jack Frost, although I recall him quite vividly from my childhood. :) Walking to and from school, I would imagine him at work. thank you for the images and the reminder of this fanciful character.
    I think my favourite of these images is the Russian one with the polar bear.

  18. Excellent post! Learned yet againsomething new and loving it!
    Allthe best,

  19. All fascinating. I truly am completely enchanted with the Russian Illustration of Father Frost !


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