by RACKHAM, Arthur, illustrator | STEPHENS, James |
1920. Mr. Rackham Breaks New Ground in the Illustration of Irish Literature "One of 520 Signed Copies[RACKHAM, Arthur, illustrator]. STEPHENS, James. Irish Fairy Tales. Illustrated by Arthur Rackham. London: Macmillan & Co., 1920.Deluxe Edition. Limited to 520 copies, signed by the artist. Large quarto (10 7/8 x 8 7/8 inches; 276 x 225 mm.). [2, blank], [2, limitation leaf], x, 318, [2, blank] pp. Sixteen color plates (including frontispiece) mounted on cream paper, with descriptive tissue guards, and twenty-one drawings in black and white.Publisher's quarter vellum, ruled in gilt, over parchment boards. Front cover and spine decoratively stamped and lettered in gilt. Top edge gilt, others uncut. A little light offsetting to end-papers. A couple of small areas of very light insect damage on upper cover and on the upper and lower-edge turn-ins. In the original cream dust jacket printed in red, torn and repaired. Housed in a fleece-lined, tan cloth slip-case.An excellent copy of one of Mr. Rackham's best titles.The fairy tales in this book include:The Story of Tuan mac CairillThe Boyhood of FionnThe Birth of BranOisin's MotherThe Wooing of BecfolaThe Little Brawl at AllenThe Carl of the Drab CoatThe Enchanted Cave of Cesh CorranBecuma of the White SkinMorgan's Frenzy"Rackham's books for the English market in the early post-war years included Flora Annie Steel's English Fairy Tales Retold (1918) and his friend James Stephen's collection of Irish Fairy Tales In the latter book, Rackham broke new ground in the illustration of Irish literature. He had been persuaded to tackle Stephens's stories by Walter Starkie, who had vowed to give his uncle 'no peace' until he had agreed to illustrate them. In writing the stories, Stephens had attempted to create an Irish equivalent of The Arabian Nights, his own poetic retelling of the stories which existed in the oral tradition and in Gaelic texts, but which had not appeared accessibly in print. Rackham rose to the occasion, and his nephew's haunting of him was justified. The Dublin Independent was particularly warm in welcoming the collection, remarking: 'We read English tales with appreciation because pictures have familiarised us with English imagery. A Fenian tale lacks imagery because we have no art to give it colour and shape to what are presently only names. Some of Mr. Rackham's pictures are pure poems - they set you dreaming." (Hamilton, p. 128)."Rackham's two great books of the twenties were James Stephens' Irish Fairy Tales of 1920 and Shakespeare's Tempest of 1926... Beyond the softness of style and inventiveness, the most striking thing about the colour plates for Irish Fairy Tales is the felicitous and appropriate use of celtic borders" (Gettings, p. 143).Latimore and Haskell, p. 52. Riall, p. 138. Gettings, p.179. Hamilton, p. 185. (Inventory #: 03894)
English, American and European Literature, Children's Books, Color-Plate Books, Illustrated Books, Early Printed Books, Private Press Books, Fine Bindings, Original Artwork, High Spot Modern First Editions.
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