Thursday 25 July 2013

Arthur Rackham – part 5

Arthur Rackham (1867 – 1939) 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. 

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.

This is part 5 of an 8-part post on the works of Arthur Rackham. For full biographical notes see part 1. 

Aesop's Fables is a collection of fables credited to Aesop, a slave and story-teller believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 560 BC.

The Greek historian Herodotus mentions in passing that "Aesop the fable writer" was a slave who lived in Ancient Greece during the 5th century BCE (Before the Common Era). Among references in other writers, Aristophanes, in his comedy The Wasps, represented the protagonist Philocleon as having learnt the "absurdities" of Aesop from conversation at banquets; Plato wrote in Phaedo that Socrates whiled away his jail time turning some of Aesop's fables "which he knew" into verses. Nonetheless, for two main reasons - because numerous morals within Aesop's attributed fables contradict each other, and because ancient accounts of Aesop's life contradict each other - the modern view is that Aesop probably did not solely compose all those fables attributed to him, if he even existed at all.

This version originally published in 1912:

1912 Cover of Aesop's Fables

Title page

The Hare and the Tortoise

The Gnat and the Lion

The Crab and his Mother

The Quack Frog

The Shipwrecked Man and the Sea

The Blackamoor

The Two Pots

Venus and the Cat

The Travellers and the Plane-tree

The Trees and the Axe

The Lion, Jupiter, and the Elephant

The Ass in the Lion's Skin

The Bear and the Fox

The Fisherman Piping

The Fox and the Crow

The Frogs and the Well

The Frogs asking for a King

The North Wind and the Sun

The Oak and the Reeds

The Owl and the Birds

The Wolf and the Goat

The Wolf and the Horse

1913 Arthur Rackham's Book of Pictures:

1913 Cover of Arthur Rackham's Book of Pictures



Fairy Wife


Marjorie and Margaret

Santa Claus

Mother Goose is an imaginary author of a collection of fairy tales and nursery rhymes which are often published as Mother Goose Rhymes. As a character, she appears in one "nursery rhyme". A Christmas pantomime called Mother Goose is often performed in the United Kingdom. The so-called "Mother Goose" rhymes and stories have formed the basis for many classic British pantomimes. Mother Goose is generally depicted in literature and book illustration as an elderly country woman in a tall hat and shawl, a costume identical to the peasant costume worn in Wales in the early 20th century, but is also sometimes depicted as a goose (usually wearing a bonnet).

This version originally published in 1913:

1913 Cover of Mother Goose

Title page

A Little Nothing Woman

As I was going to St Ives...

Bye, baby bunting

Hark! Hark! The Dogs do Bark!

 Jack Sprat could eat no fat

Little Miss Muffet

The Fair Maid who the first of May...

The Man in the wilderness asked me...

There was a crooked old man...

301 There was an old woman who lived under a hill

Imagina by Julia Ellsworth Ford, with illustrations by Arthur Rackham and Lauren Ford published in 1914:

1914 Cover of Imagina

Frontispiece "Faerie Folk"

"Please, Mermaid, come out where it is sunny."

A Christmas Carol is a novella by Charles Dickens, first published in 1843. The story tells of miserly Ebenezer Scrooge’s ideological, ethical, and emotional transformation resulting from supernatural visits from Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come. The novella met with instant success and critical acclaim.
The book was written and published in early Victorian Era Britain, a period when there was both strong nostalgia for old Christmas traditions and an initiation of new practices such as Christmas trees and greeting cards. Dickens's sources for the tale appear to be many and varied but are principally the humiliating experiences of his childhood, his sympathy for the poor, and various Christmas stories and fairy tales.
The tale has been viewed by critics as an indictment of 19th-century industrial capitalism. it has been credited with restoring the holiday to one of merriment and festivity in Britain and America after a period of sobriety and sombreness. A Christmas Carol remains popular and has never been out of print.

This version originally published in 1915:

1915 Cover of A Christmas Carol

Title page

The air was filled with phantoms, wandering hither and thither in restless haste and moaning as they went.

The way he went after that plump sister in the lace tucker!

There was nothing very cheerful in the climate.

The ghost of Marley visits Scrooge

Little Brother and Little Sister is a well-known European fairy tale which was, among others, written down by the Brothers Grimm in their collection of Children's and Household Tales (Grimm's Fairy Tales).
This version originally published in 1917:

1917 Cover of Little Brother and Little Sister

Title page

Instantly they lay still, all turned to stone

Maid Maleen

Suddenly the branches twined round her and turned into two arms.

The Gnomes

The True Sweetheart

What did she find there?..but real ripe strawberries

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this series. I love Arthur Rackham's work, and it's wonderful to see so many of his images in one place. I also appreciate the titles for the illustrations, which gives them a context.


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