"Just then the door opened, and a very old woman walking upon crutches came out"
by RACKHAM, Arthur
[Sussex]: , 1933. "Hansel and Grethel"RACKHAM, Arthur, artist. "Just then the door opened, and a very old woman walking upon crutches came out" [Sussex, 1933]. Original pen-and-ink drawing, signed "A Rackham" on lower left-hand corner, for the full-page drawing on page 275 in the The Arthur Rackham Fairy Book. London: George G. Harrap & Co., Ltd. . Image size: 9 5/8 x 6 7/8 inches: 244 x 175 mm. Matted, framed and glazed. "We will go in there," said Hansel, "and have a glorious feast. I will eat a piece of the roof, and you can eat the window. Will they not be sweet?" So Hansel reached up and broke a piece off the roof, in order to see how it tasted; while Grethel stepped up to the window and began to bite it. Then a sweet voice called out in the room, "Tip-tap, tip-tap, who raps at my door?" and the children answered, "The wind, the wind, the child of heaven"; and they went on eating without interruption. Hansel thought the roof tasted very nice, and so he tore off a great piece, while Grethel broke a large round pane out of the window, and sat down quite contentedly. Just then the door opened, and a very old woman walking upon crutches came out. Hansel and Grethel were so frightened that they let fall what was in their hands; but the old woman, nodding her head, said, "Ah, you dear children, what has brought you here? Come in and stop with me, and no harm shall befall you." So saying she took them both by the hand, and led them into her cottage."The old woman, leaning on a crutch and wearing a tall conical black hat is the stereotypical witch. She has long knobbly fingers, a big hook nose and is hunched over on her crutch. The way that Rackham has drawn her, although she is smiling a toothy grin, you just know that no-one should trust her. Hansel and Grethel are looking up at her, having just dropped pieces of her gingerbread house on the ground in fright - a piece of the window pane is missing.Although this drawing is only in pen and ink with no color, there is a depth of emotion that only Rackham can convey and it tells the story so simply and yet so effectively. He shows his true genius in just a few strokes of his pen.
(Inventory #: 03835)
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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