John Anster Christian Fitzgerald was a Victorian era fairy painter and portrait artist. He was nicknamed "Fairy Fitzgerald" for his main genre. Many of his fairy paintings are dark and contain images of ghouls, demons, and references to drug use; his work has been compared to the surreal nightmare-scapes of Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Brueghel.
The year of his birth, in Lambeth Surrey, has been variously given, though 1819 is the likeliest. He was of Irish ancestry, the son of the minor poet William Thomas Fitzgerald.
In 1849 Fitzgerald married Mary Ann Barr and they raised at least four sons and a daughter.
As an artist, Fitzgerald appears to have been largely self-taught. His work was first shown at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, in 1845; he also exhibited at the British Institution, the Society of British Artists, and the Royal Watercolour Society. In the late 1850s he created a series of Christmas fairies for The Illustrated London News.
Fitzgerald gave his works titles that often gave little clear indication of their subjects; art dealers and collectors frequently renamed them, causing great confusion in his artistic canon. Some of Fitzgerald's titles, like The Pipe Dream and The Captive Dreamer, suggest that "Fitzgerald was familiar with the opium dens which, with choral and laudanum, represented the Victorian drug scene."