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"'Iris and the Gnome', September 1917."

"Griffiths, Frances"

4 0 c m
actual image size: 24cm x 32cm


"A photograph of Elsie Wright (1901-1988) taken by Frances Griffiths (1907-1986) using Elsie's father Arthur's Midg quarter-plate camera. This photograph is the second in the 'Cottingley Fairies' series. Elsie sits in the garden as a gnome dances towards her. At the time, this photograph provoked a bizarre public discussion. If studied closely, the point of a hat pin in the gnome's stomach - used to keep the cut-out standing - can be seen. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930), after examining the print, concluded that this pin point was a navel - sparking a discussion on methods of birth in the fairy kingdom. The story of the Cottingley Fairies began as a practical joke in Cottingley, near Bradford, West Yorkshire in 1917. "

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© Glenn Hill / National Science & Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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