This expanded post on illustrator Arthur Rackham updates and replaces a post from June 2010.
Arthur Rackham (1867 – 1939) was born in London as one of 12 children. In 1884, at the age of 17, he was sent on an ocean voyage to Australia to improve his fragile health, accompanied by two Aunts. At the age of 18, he worked as a clerk at the Westminster Fire Office and began studying part-time at the Lambeth School of Art.
In 1892 he left his job and started working for The Westminster Budget as a reporter and illustrator. His first book illustrations were published in 1893 in To the Other Side by Thomas Rhodes:
|The Other Side|
|Illustration from The Other Side|
|The Dolly Dialogues|
Arthur Rackham is widely regarded as one of the leading illustrators from the 'Golden Age' of British book illustration which encompassed the years from 1900 until the start of the First World War. During that period, there was a strong market for high quality illustrated books that typically were given as Christmas gifts. Many of Rackham's books were produced in a de luxe limited edition, often vellum bound and sometimes signed, as well as a larger, less ornately bound quarto 'trade' edition. This was often followed by a more modestly presented octavo edition in subsequent years for particularly popular books. The onset of the war in 1914 curtailed the market for such quality books, and the public's taste for fantasy and fairies also declined in the 1920s.
Arthur Rackham's works have become very popular since his death, both in North America and Britain. His images have been widely used by the greeting card industry and many of his books are still in print or have been recently available in both paperback and hardback editions. His original drawings and paintings are keenly sought at the major international art auction houses.
Rackham invented his own unique technique which resembled photographic reproduction; he would first sketch an outline of his drawing, then lightly block in shapes and details. Afterwards he would add lines in pen and India ink, removing the pencil traces after it had dried. With colour pictures, he would then apply multiple washes of colour until translucent tints were created:
|1911 Lovers ink & watercolour 22.8 x 12.6 cm|
|Plate from Cinderella|
Rackham's work is often described as a fusion of a northern European 'Nordic' style strongly influenced by the Japanese woodblock tradition of the 19th century. Arthur Rackham died in 1939 in Limpsfield, Surrey.
This is part 1 of an 8-part post on the works of Arthur Rackham.
The Ingoldsby Legends is a collection of myths, legends, ghost stories and poetry written supposedly by Thomas Ingoldsby of Tappington Manor, actually a pen-name of an English clergyman named Richard Harris Barham.
The legends were first printed during 1837 as a regular series in the magazine Bentley's Miscellany and later in New Monthly Magazine. The legends were illustrated by John Leech and George Cruikshank. They proved immensely popular and were compiled into books published in 1840, 1842 and 1847 by Richard Bentley. They remained popular during the 19th century but have since become little known. An omnibus edition was published in 1879: The Ingoldsby Legends; or Mirth and marvels.
1898 – 1907 Illustrations originally created by Arthur Rackham in 1898 and revised in 1907, published in 1908.
|1898 - 1908 The Ingoldsby Legends|
|1898 - 1907 "The little man had seated himself in the centre of the circle upon the large skull"|
|1898 - 1907 "Into the bottomless pit he fell slap"|
|1898 - 1907 "Wandering about and Boo-hoo-ing"|
|1898 - 1907 "The horn at the gate of the Barbican tower was blown with a loud twenty-trumpeter power"|
|1898 - 1907 "Sir Thomas, her Lord, was stout of limb"|
|1898 - 1907 "A flood of brown-stout he was up to his knees in"|
|1898 - 1907 "A grand pas de deux performed in the very first style by these two"|
|1898 - 1907 "And the maids cried Good gracious, how very tenacious!"|
|1898 - 1907 "One kick? It was but one but such a one"|
|1907 "Sir Rupert the Fearless"|
|1898 - 1907 "With a countenance only Keeley could put on"|
Illustrations by Rackham produced, and in some cases revised, between 1898 and 1909.
|1898 - 1909 Grimm's Fairy Tales|
Rip Van Winkle is a short story by American author Washington Irving published in 1819, as well as the name of the story's fictional protagonist. Written while Irving was living in Birmingham, England, it was part of a collection entitled The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon. Although the story is set in New York’s Catskill Mountains, Irving later admitted, "When I wrote the story, I had never been on the Catskills."
This version originally published in 1905.
|1904 - 1905 Rip Van Winkle|