Rackham, Arthur

Arthur Rackham (1867 1939) was an English book illustrator. Rackham invented his own unique technique which resembled photographic reproduction; he would first sketch an outline of his drawing, then lightly block in shapes and details. Afterwards he would add lines in pen and India ink, removing the pencil traces after it had dried. With colour pictures, he would then apply multiple washes of colour until transparent tints were created.
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The Wind in the Willows, Rackham illus. UK edn 1951 (2nd printing) (Kenneth Grahame)For the first publication of the book in 1908 its author Kenneth Grahame had asked if it might be illustrated by Arthur Rackham, but the illustrator 'could not manage' the commission at the time; it was issued with an unremarkable frontispiece by Graham Robertson but otherwise unillustrated. In 1936, however, the American editor George Macy asked Rackham to illustrate The Crock of Gold by James Stephens, and since Rackham liked to receive paired commissions he asked Macy if another book might also need his illustrations. After some thought Macy suggested The Wind in the Willows, and later described Rackham's reaction: "Immediately a wave of emotion crossed his face; he gulped, started to say something, turned his back on me and went to the door for a few minutes. When he had regained his composure he explained that he had yearned to do the book for years."

Jacket illustration by Arthur Rackham.

ReproJacket #115-B-1, size 237.4x558mm.