Some British Ballads; Illustrated by Arthur Rackham

Magnificently Bound by Bayntun-Riviere
Limited Edition, Signed by the Artist
"The Prettiest Picture Book of the Season"

[BAYNTUN-RIVIERE, Binders]. RACKHAM, Arthur. Some British Ballads. Illustrated by Arthur Rackham. London: Constable & Co. Ltd, n.d. [1919].

Deluxe edition, limited to 575 numbered and signed copies by the artist, this being copy no. 372. Quarto (285 x 220 mm). 170, [2] pp. Sixteen full color tipped-in plates, twenty-four black and white drawings.

Handsomely bound by Bayntun-Riviere, c. 1965, almost certainly finished by Christopher Lewis, in full Prussian blue morocco with central pictorial inlay of multi-colored morocco reproducing the headpiece illustration to The Lady Turned Serving Man on page 147. Gilt ruled borders, gilt corner pieces. Spine with gilt ornamented and decorated compartments. Top edge gilt, others rough. Broad turn-ins with gilt curls as corner pieces. Minimal fading to spine but still a spectacular copy, as fresh as the day it was published. Housed in the original sixties blue cloth slipcase.

"Who has not heard of Arthur Rackham, the illustrator, whose great power of imagination and inventiveness have given us those delightful fairies, those weird animal-folk, which enchant children as well as grow-ups?" (New York Times, April 1, 1917).

“For many years, no Christmas was complete without a new sumptuous Rackham gift book,” of which Some British Ballads is an excellent example (Dalby, 76), a splendid production with exquisite full-color illustrations of such traditional ballads as “Lord Randal,” “Chevy Chase,” “The Twa Corbies” and “Sir Patrick Spens.”

"Few of Mr Rackham's work have been more consistently impressed with charm and beauty than his illustrations in colour to Some British Ballads. In them he pictures a succession of fascinating heroines habited in quaint and picturesque costumes, amid surroundings which, though belonging to no definite place or period, are always appropriate and congruous. His heroes are hardly less charming than his heroines, and the scenes in which they are represented constitute a series of fascinating and delightful pictures ... one must feel grateful to Mr Rackham for giving us the prettiest picture book of the season" (The Connoisseur, Vol. LVI, 1920).

“Never did old poems appear so gayly bedecked than Some British Ballads, which Arthur Rackham has gorgeously illustrated with 16 paintings… It is hard to decide which the more attractive feature of this book—Mr. Rackham’s paintings or the ballads themselves” (New York Times).

"No more effective inspiration for the gifted brush of Arthur Rackham could be found than these popular old ballads. Handsomely printed and bound, this magnificent work should appeal to all" (The Atlantic Monthly, Dec. 1920).

Arthur Rackham was born September 19, 1867, in London, England. He studied at the Lambeth School of Art, was elected to membership in The Royal Watercolour Society and the Société Nationale des Beaux Arts, and became Master of the Art Workers' Guild. Books he illustrated included Rip van Winkle (1905), The Ingoldsby Legends (1906), Alice in Wonderland (1907), and many other children's books and classics throughout the years until his death in 1939. His last work, for The Wind in the Willows, was published posthumously. He won gold medals at Milan (1906) and Barcelona (1911), and his books and original art are now collected in many countries throughout the world.

"In imagination, draftsmanship and colour-blending, his work stands alone. His deep understanding of the spirit of myth, fable, and folklore affords him a transcendent range of expression." (Latimore and Haskell).

Rackham has been called "the leading decorative illustrator of the Edwardian period.... We see him.... in 1905 at the outset of twenty years of the most prolific and prosperous creative work ever enjoyed by an English illustrator." [Arthur Rackham, His Life and Work, by Derek Hudson, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1960]

Arthur Rackham...set his stamp indelibly on a wide range of English and American classics. His elves and children and humanized trees and woodland creatures are as suitable in American texts as they are in the writings of Dickens or Barrie or Kenneth Grahame - and, above all, they are timeless. (Roland Baughman. The Centenary of Arthur Rackham's Birth).

Haskell and Latrimore p. 50. Riall p. 137. Item #01949

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