Monday, September 6, 2010

Deathday: Arthur Rackham - Poe Illustrator

Arthur Rackham (19 September 1867 – 6 September 1939) was an English book illustrator.

Early life and education

Rackham was born in London as one of 12 children. At the age of 18, he worked as a clerk at the Westminster Fire Office and began studying part-time at the Lambeth School of Art.

The Cask of Amontillado


In 1892 he quit his job and started working for The Westminster Budget as a reporter and illustrator. His first book illustrations were published in 1893 in To the Other Side by Thomas Rhodes, but his first serious commission was in 1894 for The Dolly Dialogues, the collected sketches of Anthony Hope, who later went on to write The Prisoner of Zenda. Book illustrating then became Rackham's career for the rest of his life.

In 1903 he married Edyth Starkie, with whom he had one daughter, Barbara, in 1908. Rackham won a gold medal at the Milan International Exhibition in 1906 and another one at the Barcelona International Exposition in 1912. His works were included in numerous exhibitions, including one at the Louvre in Paris in 1914. Arthur Rackham died 1939 of cancer in his home in Limpsfield, Surrey.


Notable works

The Zankiwank and the Bletherwitch by Shafto Justin Adair Fitzgerald (40 line, 1896)
Two Old Ladies, Two Foolish Fairies, and a Tom Cat by Maggie Browne (pseud. Margaret Hamer) (4 colour plates, 19 line, 1897)
The Ingoldsby Legends by Thomas Ingoldsby (pseud. Richard Harris Barham) (12 colour, 80 line 1898, reworked edition 23 colour plates, 73 line 1907)
Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm (95 line, 1900, reworked edition 40 colour plates, 62 line, 1909)
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift (11 line 1900, reworked edition 12 colour plates, 34 line, 1909)
Rip van Winkle by Washington Irving (51 colour plates, 3 line, 1905)
Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens by J.M.Barrie (50 colour plates, 3 line, 1906, new edition 50 colour plates, 12 line, 1912)
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (13 colour plates, 15 line 1907)
A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare (40 colour plates, 34 line, 1908)
Undine by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué (15 colour plates, 41 line, 1909)
The Rhinegold and The Valkyrie by Richard Wagner(34 colour plates, 8 line, 1910)
Siegfried and The Twilight of the Gods by Richard Wagner (32 colour plates, 8 line, 1911)
Aesop's Fables by Aesop (13 colour plates, 82 line, 1912)
Mother Goose (13 colour plates, 78 line 1913)
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (12 colour plates, 1915)
The Allies Fairy Book (12 colour plates, 23 line 1916)
Little Brother and Little Sister by The Brothers Grimm (13 colour plates, 45 line 1917)
The Romance of King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table by Alfred W. Pollard (23 colour and monotone plates, 16 line, 1917)
English Fairy Tales by Flora Annie Steel (16 colour plates, 43 line, 1918)
The Springtide of Life by Algernon Charles Swinburne (8 colour plates, 1918)
Some British Ballads (16 colour plates, 23 line, 1918)
Cinderella ed. Charles S. Evans (1 colour plate, 60 silhouettes, 1919)
The Sleeping Beauty ed. Charles S. Evans (1 colour plate, 65 silhouettes, 1920)
Irish Fairy Tales by James Stephens (16 colour plates, 20 line, 1920)
Comus by John Milton (22 colour plates, 35 line, 1922)
A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys by Nathaniel Hawthorne (16 colour plates, 21 line, 1922)
The Tempest by William Shakespeare (20 colour plates, 20 line, 1926)
The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith (12 colour plates, 23 line, 1929)
The Compleat Angler by Izaak Walton (12 colour plates, 22 line, 1931)
Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen (12 colour plates, 43 line, 9 silhouettes 1932)
Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe (12 colour plates, 28 line, 1935)
Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen (12 colour plates, 38 line, 1936)
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (16 colour plates, posthumously 1940 US, 1950 UK)

Typically, Rackham contributed both colour and monotone illustrations towards the works incorporating his images - and in the case of Hawthorne's Wonder Book, he also provided a number of part-coloured block images similar in style to Meiji era Japanese woodblocks.

The Tell Tale Heart


In one of the featurettes on the DVD of Pan's Labyrinth, and in the commentary track for Hellboy, director Guillermo Del Toro cites Rackham as an influence on the design of "The Faun" of Pan's Labyrinth. He liked the dark tone of Rackham's gritty realistic drawings and had decided to incorporate this into the film. In Hellboy, the design of the tree growing out of the altar in the ruined abbey off the coast of Scotland where Hellboy was brought over, is actually referred to as a "Rackham tree" by the director.

The Arthur Rackham Treasury: 86 Full-Color IllustrationsArthur Rackham: A Life with IllustrationRackham's Fairy Tale Illustrations in Full ColorRackham's Fairies, Elves and Goblins: More than 80 Full-Color IllustrationsRackham's Color Illustrations for Wagner's "Ring"Art of Arthur Rackham: 24 CardsRackham's Fairy Tale Coloring Book (Colouring Books)The Essential Arthur Rackham Illustrated Collection [Full Color]Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

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