Paris: Hachette et Cie., 1906. Item #02512
De Luxe Edition in French
This Copy Specially Signed By Rackham
[RACKHAM, Arthur, illustrator]. IRVING, Washington. Rip Van Winkle. Illustré par Arthur Rackham. Paris: Hachette et Cie.,1906.
French Edition De Luxe, limited to 200 unsigned letterpress-numbered copies on 'Papier Whatman', this being copy no. 199, specially signed by Rackham. Quarto (11 x 8 5/8 in; 280 x 216 mm). x, 69,  pp. Frontispiece and fifty color plates with captioned tissue guards mounted on heavy brown stock.
Publisher's full gilt-stamped vellum with original yellow ribbon ties. Small marginal wormhole affecting just the front free endpaper and the limitation leaf. An excellent copy, the binding fresh and clean. Housed in a plain chemise-style case.
In 1906 Hachette et Cie, Paris, published two Edition DeLuxe versions of this title. There were 200 unsigned copies on 'Papier Whatman' and in addition another 20 copies that were signed by Rackham and printed on 'Papier du Japon.'
Around the middle of 1904... Ernest Brown & Phillips commissioned 50 color illustrations to Rip Van Winkle, and purchased the originals and all rights for 300 guineas. The publishing rights were then resold in a complicated deal to Heinemann, before the illustrations were exhibited at Brown and Phillips' Leicester Galleries... Most of the Rip drawings were sold at the exhibition, and by October they had all found purchasers.
"Brown and Phillips' investment, made secure by the keenness of Rackham's purchasers, was not let down by the reviews his work received.
"... When, in September 1905, Rip Van Winkle was published, comparisons between Rackham and German artists [i.e. Dürer and Joseph Sattler] continued to be voiced, The Times remarking on 'the marvel of his Düreresque detail.'
"... The 51 illustrations, for a story of not more than five thousand words, enables the story to be told twice, once through Irving's words, and once again, image by image, through Rackham's pictures... In his illustrations, Rackham pays homage not only to Dürer, Cruikshank and Dutch seventeenth-century painting, but to contemporary artists, too..." (Hamilton).
"... But the first work that greatly advanced his fame in the years immediately following his marriage was his edition of Rip Van Winkle… This lovely book decisively established Rackham as the leading decorative illustrator of the Edwardian period... The deluxe edition of the book was fully subscribed before the [Leicester Galleries] exhibition closed" (Hudson).
Riall, p. 70. Latimore and Haskell, p. 26.