New York: The Century Co., 1913. Item #03653
With Forty-Four Mounted Color Plates
Including 'Cupid's Alley'
RACKHAM, Arthur. Arthur Rackham's Book of Pictures. With an introduction by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch. New York: The Century Co., .
First American trade edition.
Quarto ( 10 5/16 x 7 7/8 inches; 262 x 200 mm.). 43,  pp. Forty-four color plates (including frontispiece) mounted on tan paper, with descriptive tissue guards, and ten drawings in black and white. All plates except the frontispiece bound at end.
Publisher's gray-green cloth, front cover and spine pictorially stamped and lettered in gilt, top edge stained gray, bookplate design by Arthur Rackham on front paste-down. Front free end-paper slightly discolored from from paste-down, small water stain in lower gutter, inner hinges slightly cracked, title-page and facing tissue-guard with brown stain from something like a newspaper cutting which is no longer present. Spine extremities and corners a little worn.
A good and very reasonably priced copy of the first American trade edition.
"Arthur Rackham's Book of Pictures brings together a number of drawings unrelated in theme. Most of them, it is true, are drawings of the supernatural, of goblins, elves and fairies, and many are based on actual fairy tales; but there are also delightful straightforward drawings of children at the seaside or in the Broad Walk, Kensington Gardens; there is also the well-known 'Cupid's Alley' [the original of which is in the Tate Gallery], which illustrates verses by Austin Dobson, and there are subject pictures and landscapes of wide variety. It was important that such a book should be drawn together by an introductory essay, and natural for Rackham to invite [J.M.] Barrie to write it. The answer he received was cordial but disappointing: '24 June 1913. Dear Rackham, I wish I could, but I have promised to write two introductions this autumn, and had better not undertake more. Added to which I would be very bad at it as I have no skill in criticism. I am very glad to hear of the book and look forward to it. You have no greater admirer than myself, and few there are more warmly indebted to you. 'Yours very sincerely J.M. Barrie'. Rackham was fortunate in obtaining Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch as a substitute for Barrie. 'Q' not only admired Rackham's work; he also thoroughly understood a child's instinctive longing for the imaginative and fanciful. 'To this instant, constant, intellectual need of childhood no one in our day,' he wrote, 'has ministered so bountifully or so whole-heartedly as Mr. Rackham.' And Quiller-Couch was happy, too, in associating the random, impressionistic nature of much of the Book of Pictures with 'the wayward visions that tease every true artist's mind, while he bends over the day's work'". (Derek Hudson. Arthur Rackham. His Life and Work, pp. 97-98).
Latimore and Haskell, pp. 41-42. Riall, p. 118.