A profile of Arthur Rackham, Famous Illustrator

Arthur Rackham is an artist from Victorian era England who is best known for his lush, detailed illustrations depicting the mystical world of fantasy and fairy tales.  His most famous works are the illustrations for collectible children’s books, such as “Alice in Wonderland,” “Peter Pan,” and “Grimm’s Fairy Tales.”

Rackham was born in London on September 19, 1867. He spent much of his youth pursuing his artistic talent while attending the City of London School, where he won prizes and earned a reputation for his artistic talent.

At the age of 18, he worked as a clerk while studying part-time at the Lambeth School of Art. His early illustrations were published in magazines and while still quite nice, tended towards simple black line-work that is unremarkable compared to his later, more famous creations.

As he steadily gained renown, Arthur Rackham grew out of the magazine industry, and began to illustrate books, such as the 1900 edition of The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm. He progressed in talent and experience, and was soon featured in exhibitions and elected into such trade associations as the Royal Watercolour Society and Langham Sketching Club.  During this time, he also married his fiance and fellow artist Edyth Starkie in 1903.

The roots of his now familiar style were apparent in his early career, but the 51 illustrations that he created in 1905 for the old Washington Irving classic tale, “Rip Van Winkle” truly began to show the scope of his talent. This also began the peak of Arthur Rackham’s career, which lasted just beyond World War I.

During this affluent and busy time, he published at least one book per year and held annual exhibitions where he sold the original illustrations of that year’s newly published book. His daughter, Barbara, was born in 1908.

Arthur Rackham died of cancer in his home at Stilegate on September 6, 1939, just before his seventy-second birthday. The illustrator left behind a legacy of over 60 illustrated books including the works of Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, James Barrie and Lewis Carroll. He is known and beloved internationally for his work in Classic fiction and Children’s literature.

A List of the Major Rackham Limited Editions 
(arranged chronologically)

1905 – RIP VAN WINKLE
1906 – PETER PAN IN KENSINGTON GARDENS
1907 – ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND
1907 – INGOLDSBY LEGENDS
1908 – A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM
1909 – UNDINE
1909 – GRIMM’S FAIRY TALES
1909 – TALES FROM SHAKESPEARE
1909 – GULLIVER’S TRAVELS
1910 – THE RHINEGOLD & THE VALKYRIE
1911 – SIEGFRIED & THE TWILIGHT OF THE GODS
1912 – PETER PAN PORTFOLIO
1912 – AESOP’S FABLES
1913 – ARTHUR RACKHAM’S BOOK OF PICTURES
1913 – MOTHER GOOSE
1915 – A CHRISTMAS CAROL
1916 – ALLIE’S FAIRY BOOK
1917 – LITTLE BROTHER & LITTLE SISTER
1917 – ROMANCE OF KING ARTHUR
1918 – THE SPRINGTIDE OF LIFE
1918 – ENGLISH FAIRY TALES
1919 – CINDERELLA
1919 – SOME BRITISH BALLADS
1920 – IRISH FAIRY TALES
1920 – SLEEPING BEAUTY
1921 – COMUS
1921 – A DISH OF APPLES
1922 – A WONDER BOOK
1925 – WHERE THE BLUE BEGINS
1925 – POOR CECCO
1926 – THE TEMPEST
1928 – THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW
1929 – THE VICAR OF WAKEFIELD
1931 – THE CHIMES
1931 – THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
1931 – THE COMPLETE ANGLER
1932 – THE KING OF THE GOLDEN RIVER
1932 – HANS ANDERSEN’S FAIRY TALES
1933 – ARTHUR RACKHAM FAIRY BOOK
1933 – GOBLIN MARKET
1934 – PIED PIPER OF HAMELIN
1935 – TALES OF MYSTERY AND IMAGINATION
1936 – PEER GYNT
1939 – A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (PART OF LEC SET)
1940 – THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS (AMERICAN EDITION)
1951 – THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS (BRITISH EDITION)



This entry was written by and posted on October 8, 2010 at 1:34 pm, filed under Book Collecting, Home Library, Illustrators, Profiles and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink

One Response to “A profile of Arthur Rackham, Famous Illustrator”

  1. Kajaks

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