London / New York: J.M. Dent / E.P. Dutton, 1907. Item #01952
The Finest Rackham Edition
Limited to 500 Copies Signed by the Artist
In a Beautiful Inlaid Binding By Chris Lewis
[RACKHAM, Arthur, illustrator]. INGOLDSBY, Thomas (pseudonym of Richard Harris Barham). [LEWIS, Christopher, binder]. The Ingoldsby Legends or Mirth & Marvels. By Thomas Ingoldsby Esquire. Illustrated by Arthur Rackham A.R.W.S. London: J.M. Dent & Co., 1907.
Large paper edition. Limited to 560 numbered copies, “of which 500 are for sale in England and 50 in America,” signed by the artist. This copy is No. 241 of the English edition.
Large quarto (11 x 8 5/8 in; 284 x 220 mm). xix, , 549,  pp. Twenty-four color plates mounted on dark olive paper, with descriptive tissue guards (except for the frontispiece), twelve plates tinted but not mounted, and sixty-six drawings in black and white in the text (full-page). Title printed in red and brown within a decorative tinted border.
This is the finest Rackham-illustrated edition of The Ingoldsby Legends with additional color illustrations, improved color illustrations, large-paper format, and reworked pen and ink drawings not found in the edition of 1898.
Bound c. early 1970s by Chris Lewis (stamp-signed) in full red morocco. Triple gilt-ruled borders, Central pictorial inlay of multi-colored morocco reproducing the plate, If Anyone Lied, or If Any One Swore. Gilt-ruled compartments with gilt avian ornaments. Gilt rolled edges. Heavily gilt dentelles. All edges gilt. A fresh, crisp and very fine copy. Housed in a later custom drop-back clamshell box.
The Ingoldsby Legends were first printed during 1837 as a regular series of Richard Bentley's magazine, Bentley's Miscellany, and later in New Monthly Magazine. The legends were illustrated by John Leech and George Cruikshank. They proved immensely popular and were compiled into books published during 1840, 1842 and 1847 by Richard Bentley. They remained popular during the 19th century.
The illustrations for this volume proved a turning point in Rackham's life. "In 1898, which was to be a watershed year for Rackham, Dent invited him to produce one hundred black and white illustrations for R.H. Barham's quaintly medievalizing poems and stories The Ingoldsby Legends of Mirth and Marvels. The £150 fee for this important commission bought, in addition, ownership of the originals and copyright.…[The] episodic nature and superficial, rollicking humour [of the tales] were well suited to Rackham's talents, presenting him with endless opportunities to exercise his talent for the macabre and the inventive, the fantastic and the knockabout comic" (Hamilton, Arthur Rackham. A Biography, p. 49).
The great Christopher Lewis began his career at the internationally renowned Bayntun-Riviere Bindery of Bath, England, during the early 1960s as a finisher. In the 1970s, he established his own bindery and further developed his masterful inlay and gilt work.
Lattimore and Haskell p. 30-31.