Paris: Hachette et Cie, 1909. Item #04595
One of Only Thirty Signed Copies
Printed on Papier Imperial Du Japon
[RACKHAM, Arthur, illustrator]. SHAKESPEARE, William. Le Songe D'Une Nuit D'Ete. Paris: Hachette et Cie, 1909.
First edition in French of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream illustrated by Arthur Rackham.
Limited to thirty numbered copies on Papier Imperial du Japon signed by Arthur Rackham, this being copy no. 19, of a total edition of 330.
Quarto (11 1/2 x 9 inches; 292 x 228 mm). , 134 pp. Forty mounted color plates with captioned tissue guards, thirty drawings in black and white.
Publisher's full vellum, gilt decorated. Top edge gilt, others untrimmed. Silk ties missing. Small rectangular bookplate on front fly-leaf. A fine copy.
The black & white illustrations have far more definition here printed on 'Papier Imperial du Japon' than those in the English Limited Edition.
"The most splendid illustrated work of the century, so far" (William de Morgan).
"The illustrations for a Midsummer-Night's Dream... were much less controversial in theme than Alice, and their success was ungrudged... Rackham cast his spell over the play; his drawings superceded the work of all his predecessors from Gilbert to Abbey, and for fifty years have enriched the imagination; his conception of Puck and Bottom, Titiana and Oberon, Helena and Hermia, his gnarled trees and droves of fairies, have represented the visual reality of the Dream for thousands of readers. Here he excelled especially in landscape, and in reconciling dream and reality, giving himself to the luxury of rich detail with a rare generosity" (Hudson).
"By March 1909, three months after publication, the entire de luxe edition...had been sold out, and of the 15,000 trade copies, 7,650 had been sold. The English edition remained in print and paid [Rackham] royalties until the end of his life" (Hamilton).
Riall p. 87. Cf. Latimore and Haskell, p. 32.