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Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Rackham, Arthur

Arthur Rackham Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Tales from Shakespeare Rackham's Fairy Tale Illustrations

British illustrator Arthur Rackham was born on Sept. 19th, 1867. He grew up as one of twelve children and trained as an insurance clerk.

He studied art at night and changed careers after eight years of study. He began work as a full time illustrator for the Westminster Budget, a London newspaper. He began illustrating books at the age of 27, beginning with a travel book, To the Other Side.

In 1900, he met his future wife and began his true calling – illustrating fantasy and magic. He began with Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm with one full-color and 99 black-and-white drawings. The book was so popular, he re-illustrated it in 1909 with 40 color and 55 black-and-white illustrations. The black-and-whites were done with India ink and a dip pen drawn over painstaking pencil drawings. Layers of transparent watercolor washes were added for the color work.

Photo separation and reproduction were refined during this period, so Rackham became known for his work illustrating deluxe gift book editions of classic children’s tales like Peter Pan and Wind in the Willows. Rackham continued the quest of Caldecott, Greenaway, and Crane into the Golden Age of Children’s Books. He died in 1939.

 

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