Thursday, September 19, 2013

September 19 - Arthur Rackham

English illustrator Arthur Rackham was born on September 19, 1867, in London. One of 12 children, he began studying art in his teens and by the 1890s had settled into a career of book illustration. Beginning with Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle (1905), he produced a series of lavishly illustrated books, most published in signed, limited editions and cloth-bound trade editions, often bound in vellum and signed by Rackham. Other major books included J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens (1906), Lewis Carroll’s Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1907), four volumes of Wagner’s “Ring Cycle” (1910-11), English Fairy Tales (1918) and many others. He became the most well-known artist of the period called the “Golden Age” of illustration, spanning the years prior to 1900 through the onset of World War I in 1914. Post-war changes in taste affected the market for Rackham’s fanciful, often dark depictions of fairies and mythic, folkloric figures. His edition of Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows (pictured) was published posthumously in 1940.

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