jueves, 8 de junio de 2017


Christa Zaat

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Arthur Rackham (British book illustrator) 1867 - 1939
"Once Upon a Time", 1902-03
ink and watercolour drawing, mounted, framed and glazed
21 x 18.2 cm.
signed and dated lower right
private collection

Catalogue Note Sotheby's
Reproduced as plate twenty-four (of forty-four plates) within Arthur Rackham's Book of Pictures (Heinemann, 1913) as part of the 'Grotesque and Fantastic' section. The drawing is dated 1902-1903.

In his introduction to the book, Arthur Quiller-Couch notes: "In... Once upon a Time, there seems to be a story but is none: he just brings together in a suggestive group nine or ten types without one or two of which no fairy tale is complete. All will recognise - besides the King and the Swine-herd - the Goose-girl, the Knight, the Foundling and the little Princess..."

* * *

Rackham was born in London as one of 12 children. In 1884, at the age of 17, he was sent on an ocean voyage to Australia to improve his fragile health, accompanied by two Aunts. At the age of 18, he worked as a clerk at the Westminster Fire Office and began studying part-time at the Lambeth School of Art.

In 1892 he left his job and started working for The Westminster Budget as a reporter and illustrator. His first book illustrations were published in 1893 in To the Other Side by Thomas Rhodes, but his first serious commission was in 1894 for The Dolly Dialogues, the collected sketches of Anthony Hope, who later went on to write The Prisoner of Zenda. Book illustrating then became Rackham's career for the rest of his life.
In 1903 he married Edyth Starkie, with whom he had one daughter, Barbara, in 1908. Rackham won a gold medal at the Milan International Exhibition in 1906 and another one at the Barcelona International Exposition in 1912. His works were included in numerous exhibitions, including one at the Louvre in Paris in 1914. Arthur Rackham died in 1939 of cancer in his home in Limpsfield, Surrey.

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