Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Arthur Rackham – part 8

Arthur Rackham self-portrait entitled "A Transpontine Cockney" 1934

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

  A Dish of Apples by Eden Phillpotts is a collection of poems written by Eden Phillpotts (1862-1960) on a theme of nature and harvest, with the greater part of the collection being poems in homage to varieties of orchard fruits.
Phillpotts  was an English author, poet and dramatist. He was born in Mount Abu, British India, educated in Plymouth, Devon, and worked as an insurance officer for 10 years before studying for the stage and eventually becoming a writer. He co-wrote two plays with his daughter Adelaide Phillpotts.

This version originally published in 1921:

1921 Cover of A Dish of Apples

Title page

Hawthorne’s Wonder Book was the First Edition of Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic tales illustrated by Arthur Rackham. Written as tales within a tale, Hawthorne presents the stories as being told to a group of children at Tanglewood, an Estate in Lenox, Massachusetts (where Hawthorne lived for a period), by Eustace Bright, a Williams College student.

This version originally published in 1922:

1922 Cover of Hawthorne's Wonder Book

1922 American edition of the book

Comus is a masque in honour of chastity, written by John Milton (1608 – 1674). It was first presented on Michaelmas 1634, before John Egerton, 1st Earl of Bridgewater at Ludlow Castle in celebration of the Earl's new post as Lord President of Wales. The plot concerns two brothers and their sister, simply called "Lady", lost in a journey through the woods. Lady becomes fatigued, and the brothers wander off in search of sustenance.

While alone, she encounters the debauched Comus, a character inspired by the god of mockery, who is disguised as a villager and claims he will lead her to her brothers. Deceived by his amiable countenance, Lady follows him, only to be captured, brought to his pleasure palace and victimised by his necromancy.

This version originally published in 1922:

1922 Cover of Comus

Title page

"All amidst the Gardens fair of Hesperus, and his daughters three that sing about the golden tree."

"And they, so perfect is their misery, not once perceive their foul disfigurement, but boast themselves more comely than before."

"They come in making a riotous unruly noise"

"Calling shapes, and beckoning shadows dire."

"Sweet Echo."

"The flowry-kirtl'd Naiades."

"Some say, no evil thing that walks by night…"

"…No goblin, or swart faery of the mine, hath hurt-full power o'er true virginity."

"The huntress Diana"

"The wonted roar was up amidst the woods, and fill'd the Air with barbarous dissonance."

"… as Daphne was, root-bound, that fled Apollo."

"Iris there, with humid bow"

"The brothers rush in with swords drawn."

"The water Nymphs, that in the bottom plaid, held up their pearled wrists and took her in."

"Sabrina fair listen where thou art sitting."

Peer Gynt is a five-act play in verse by the Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen, loosely based on the fairy tale Per Gynt Written in the Dano-Norwegian language, it is the most widely performed Norwegian play. Peer Gynt has also been described as the story of a life based on procrastination and avoidance. A first edition of 1,250 copies was published on 14 November 1867 in Copenhagen. Although the first edition swiftly sold out, a re-print of 2,000 copies, which followed after only 14 days, didn't sell out until seven years later.

This version originally published in 1936:

1936 Cover of Peer Gynt

Title page

End paper

Peer before the King of Trolls

Aase on the mill house roof

Peer among the wedding guests

Peer and Solvieg at the wedding

Peer follows the woman in green

The dance of the Trolls

Peer and the Troll Witch

The Death of Aase

Anitra's Dance

The Thin Man

Peer and the Threadballs


  1. Thank you! I had not seen all of these illustrations, and none of them from Peer Gynt. I appreciate your work posting them. Arthur Rackham is among my favorite illustrators.


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