A colourful drawing of a fairy by Elsie Hill, nee Wright (1901-1988), about 1983. Elsie Hill drew this fairy in later life during her discussions with Geoffrey Crawley. Crawley wrote a series of articles on the Cottingley Fairies for the British Journal of Photography, 1982-3. Elsie and her cousin Frances Griffiths (1907-1986) never understood why so many people believed in the Cottingley Fairies. Frances had a copy of 'Princess Mary's Gift Book' (1915), and the girls were inspired by the fairy illustrations inside to make their own versions. To set up the original photographs, the girls secured their cutout fairies in the ground, or to trees, using hatpins. The story of the Cottingley Fairies began as a practical joke in Cottingley, near Bradford, West Yorkshire in 1917. The photographs of the 'Beck Fairies', as the girls called them, went on to become one of the most famous examples of image manipulation in photography.
© Glenn Hill / National Science & Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library