Saturday 20 July 2013

Arthur Rackham – part 3

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

A Midsummer Night's Dream is a play by William Shakespeare. Believed to have been written between 1590 and 1596, it portrays the events surrounding the marriage of the Duke of Athens, Theseus, and the Queen of the Amazons, Hippolyta. These include the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of six amateur actors, who are controlled and manipulated by the fairies who inhabit the forest in which most of the play is set. The play, categorised as a Comedy, is one of Shakespeare's most popular works for the stage and is widely performed across the world.

Originally published in 1907, some of these illustrations have later dates.

1908 Cover of A Midsummer Night's Dream

Title page

Titania lying asleep


Where often you and I upon faint primrose-buds were wont to lie, 
emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet

She never had so sweet a changeling

The Meeting of Oberon and Titania

Fairies away! We shall chide downright, if I longer stay

To hear the sea-maid's music

Ere the leviathan can swim a league

On the ground sleep sound, I'll apply to your eye gentle lover, remedy

Come, now a roundel

…will sing, that they shall hear I am not afraid

Lord, what fools these mortals be

… and her fairy sent to bear him to my bower in fairy land

And a fairy song

Fair Helena

Call'd Robin Goodfellow, are not you he that frights the maidens of the villagery

…am that merry wanderer of the night

O Bottom, thou art changed!

What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?

 …ghosts, ivanciering here and there troop hovie to churchyards

O monstrous! O strange we are haunted pray, masters fly, masters! Help!

How now, spirit! Whither wander you

Never so weary, never so in woe, bedabbled with dew and torn with briars

To make my small elves coats

Are you sure that we are awake. It seems to me that yet we sleep, we dream

Undine is a fairy-tale novella; an early German romance, written in 1811 by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué in which Undine, a water spirit, marries a knight named Huldebrand in order to gain a soul.
This version originally published in 1909.

1909 Cover of Undine

Title page