New York: The Limited Editions Club, 1940. Item #03930
Arthur Rackham’s “Wind in the Willows”
[RACKHAM, Arthur, illustrator]. GRAHAME, Kenneth. The Wind in the Willows. With an Introduction by A.A. Milne & Illustrations by Arthur Rackham. New York: The Limited Editions Club, 1940.
Limited to 2,020 numbered copies (this copy being No. 423), signed by the designer, Bruce Rogers.
Quarto (11 3/8 x 8 1/8 inches; 289 x 207 mm.). , 244,  pp. Sixteen mounted color plates. “Printed at the Walpole Printing Office…The edition was designed by and printed under the supervision of Bruce Rogers” (Colophon).
Original quarter pale yellow buckram over patterned paper boards, spine lettered in gilt, top edge gilt, others uncut. Spine darkened but still an excellent copy. Housed in the original slightly worn green cardboard slipcase.
"The Wind in the Willows was not published in England until 1950, but it found two publishers, one for a de luxe edition (The Limited Editions Club, New York) and one for a trade edition (The Heritage Press, New York) in the United States posthumously in the year following Rackham’s death. The book is a gentle delight, presenting sixteen illustrations which in no way fight with the more famous imaginative world created by Shepherd, although if Shepherd had not preceded him, then Rackham might have anthropomorphized his creatures even more. Several of the plates are delightful: the ‘Golden Day when the three heroes walked by the Caravan, Mole leading a happy horse’; the placid Rat handing a hamper to put into a boat, a plate famous among Rackham lovers because it was the boat for which Rackham forgot to draw the oars, an omission which some see as significant in view of the artist’s imminent death. Perhaps the most interesting picture is the frontispiece, which depicts the egocentric Toad levelled to the drab clothes of a no-pocket washerwoman, hopping about permissively, totally unequipped for the real contest. In the real world of people, like all egoists, animal or human, he is alien, and it is a typical piece of Rackhamerie that we should see two children laughing at the glum toad, not because he is a toad, but because he is obviously pretending to be something else.
It is with a sense of a serious loss that one turns to the imprint of the de luxe edition in search of the familiar Rackham signature, and finds not the careful hand of Rackham, but that of the designer Bruce Rogers, who saw the book and Rackham’s pictures through the press.” (Gettings, Arthur Rackham. Pp. 168-169).
“This was the final book Arthur Rackham illustrated before his death in 1939” (Riall, pp. 197-198).
Bruce Rogers (1870 – 1957) was an American typographer and type designer, acclaimed by some as among the greatest book designers of the twentieth century. Rogers was known for his "classical" style of design, rejecting modernism, never using asymmetrical arrangements, rarely using sans serif type faces, favoring stolid roman faces such as Caslon and his own Centaur.