Arthur Rackham is widely regarded as one of the leading illustrators from the ‘Golden Age’ of British book illustration which encompassed the years from 1900 until the start of the First World War. During that period, there was a strong market for high quality illustrated books which typically were given as Christmas gifts.
Many of Rackham’s books were produced in a deluxe limited edition, often vellum bound and sometimes signed, as well as a larger, less ornately bound quarto ‘trade’ edition. This was often followed by a more modestly presented octavo edition in subsequent years for particularly popular books. He was one of the most prolific and most loved illustrator of children’s book. Many of his work are still in print today.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a comedy written by William Shakespeare in 1595/96. The play consists of multiple subplots that revolve around the marriage of Theseus and Hippolyta. One subplot revolves around a conflict between four Athenian lovers, one about a group of six amateur actors who has to act out their interpretation of the play ‘Pyramus and Thisbe’ at the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta. These subplots take place in a forest, inhabited by fairies who control the characters of the play. The play is one of Shakespeare’s most popular works for the stage and is widely performed across the world.
Presenting the First edition of A Midsummer’s Night Dream, with illustrations by Arthur Rackham. Published by Heinemann, London 1908. This is my second favorite Rackham’s book, after the illustrations of Peter Pan.