London: William Heinemann, 1913. Item #03895
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. London: William Heinemann. n.d. .
Edition de Luxe. Limited to 1,130 numbered copies, signed by the artist (this copy being no. 165).
Large quarto (11 1/2 x 9 inches; 292 x 232 mm). 43,  pp. Forty-four color plates (including frontispiece) mounted on tan paper, with descriptive tissue guards, and ten drawings in black and white.
Publisher's pictorial white buckram. Front cover pictorially stamped and lettered in gilt, spine lettered in gilt, decorative end-papers, top edge gilt, others uncut. Spine darkened and gilt somewhat dull, a few small marks on upper cover, some very slight wear at top of spine, still a very good copy.
"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.