King of the Golden River, The
London: George Harrap & Co., 1932. Item #04065
One of 575 Copies Signed by Arthur Rackham
[RACKHAM, Arthur, illustrator]. RUSKIN, John. The King of the Golden River. Illustrated by Arthur Rackham. London: George Harrap & Co., .
One of 575 copies signed by Arthur Rackham, this being copy No. 472. Octavo (8 3/4 x 5 3/4 inches; 222 x 146 mm.). 47,  pp. Four color plates and fifteen drawings in black and white.
Original limp vellum. Pictorial endpapers in green and white. Top edge gilt, others uncut. A few text leaves roughly opened, small inoffensive stains on endpapers. A very good copy. Housed in a green cloth clamshell case.
John Ruskin (1819–1900), “English author and artist, whose The King of the Golden River might be regarded as the first English fairy story for children. Though it was not published until 1851, seven years after Francis Paget's The Hope of the Katzekopfs, it was in fact written in 1841 for 12-year-old Effie Gray, whom he later married. It is a story of the three brothers of tradition, two bad, the youngest good, and their reception of a supernatural visitor, the South West Wind. Ruskin described it himself as ‘a fairly good imitation of Grimm and Dickens, mixed with some true Alpine feeling of my own’, but the South West Wind is a powerful and original character, described by Stephen Prickett [in Victorian Fantasy (1979)] as the ‘first magical personage to show that combination of kindliness and eccentric irascibility that was to appear so strongly in a whole tradition of subsequent literature’. Richard Doyle, who illustrated the original edition, made a striking drawing of him. Edgar Taylor’s translation of the Grimms’ stories with illustrations by George Cruikshank was published in 1823; in Praeterita Ruskin recorded how he had copied these when he was 10 or 11. The book was reissued in 1868 with an introduction by Ruskin in which he spoke of the value of the traditional tales, with their power ‘to fortify children against the glacial cold of selfish science’—a sentiment which lies at the heart of his own story” (The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales).
Latimore and Haskell, p. 67. Riall, p. 176.