Children’s Literature Illustrator Arthur Rackham

February 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Arthur Rackham was born September 19, 1867, in London, England. He studied at the Lambeth School of Art, was elected to membership in The Royal Watercolour Society and the Société Nationale des Beaux Arts, and became Master of the Art Workers’ Guild. Books he illustrated include Rip Van Winkle (1905), Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens (1906), Alice in Wonderland (1907), and many other children’s books and classics throughout the years until his death in 1939. His last work, The Wind in the Willows, was published posthumously. He won gold medals at Milan (1906) and Barcelona (1911), and his books and original art are now collected worldwide.

“In imagination, draftsmanship and colour-blending, his work stands alone. His deep understanding of the spirit of myth, fable, and folklore affords him a transcendent range of expression.” [Arthur Rackham, a Bibliography, by Sarah Briggs Latimore and Grace Clark Haskell, Los Angeles, Suttonhouse, 1936]

Rackham has been called “the leading decorative illustrator of the Edwardian period…. We see him…. in 1905 at the outset of twenty years of the most prolific and prosperous creative work ever enjoyed by an English illustrator.” [Arthur Rackham, His Life and Work, by Derek Hudson, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1960]

“Rackham’s illustrations to Grimm, Hans Andersen or Poe show him at his most imaginative and observant of human nature, while his gnomes, fairies and gnarled anthropomorphic trees in Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens or A Midsummer Night’s Dream represent his more fantastic side…. He was – and remains – a soloist in front of an orchestra, a player with the responsibility to interpret and add a personal lustre to great works with variations of infinite subtlety and grace.” [Arthur Rackham: A Life with Illustration, by James Hamilton, Pavilion Books, Ltd., London, 1990; published in New York by Arcade Publishing, Inc. as Arthur Rackham, A Biography]

Currently we have a 1920 copy of The Ingoldsby Legends of Mirth and Marvels illustrated by Arthur Rackham which includes 23 colour tipped in plates.

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For more information about Arthur Rackham check out the Arthur Rackham Society website: http://arthur-rackham-society.org/about_the_artist.html

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