Illustrations Art Gallery

Arthur Rackham – Illustrations for Poems of Childhood 1918

Arthur Rackham (1867 – 1939) was an English book illustrator. 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

Poems Childhood - Arthur Rackham 1918
Poems of Childhood, Arthur Rackham. First Limited edition, 1918.

Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837 – 1909) was an English poet, playwright, novelist, and critic. He wrote several novels and collections of poetry such as Poems and Ballads, and contributed to the famous Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica.

Swinburne wrote about many taboo topics, such as lesbianism, cannibalism, sado-masochism, and anti-theism. His poems have many common motifs, such as the ocean, time, and death. Several historical people are featured in his poems, such as Sappho (“Sapphics”), Anactoria (“Anactoria”), Jesus (“Hymn to Proserpine”: Galilaee, La. “Galilean”) and Catullus (“To Catullus”).

The Springtide of Life – Poems of Childhood is an anthology, collected by Edmund Gosse, containing Algernon Charles Swinburne’s enchanting verses for children. Swinburne (1837 – 1909) was a celebrated English poet and playwright, who was nominated for the Nobel Prize in every year from 1903 to 1907, and again in 1909. His poems are here decorated with the delicate and romantic illustrations of Arthur Rackham. Gosse once told Rackham that ‘this volume will not merely be the best book of the present art-season, but a joy to all sensitive people for years and years to come.’ He was correct in his estimations, and this text continues to delight readers both young and old, almost a century after its initial publication.

Presenting the First edition of The Springtide of Life – Poems of Childhood with illustrations by Arthur Rackham. Published by William Heinemann, London, 1918.

Art Gallery: Arthur Rackham – Poems of Childhood 1918

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