Arthur Rackham (1867 – 1939) was an English book illustrator.
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. The onset of the war in 1914 curtailed the market for such quality books, and the public’s taste for fantasy and fairies also declined in the 1920s.
With great pleasure, I’m bringing to you a fitting present this Christmas 2007, illustrations from the book “The Night Before Christmas” by Clement C. Moore and illustrated by one of my favorite illustrator Arthur Rackham.
“A Visit from St. Nicholas“, more commonly known as “The Night Before Christmas” and “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” from its first line, is a poem first published anonymously in 1823 and later attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, who claimed authorship in 1837.
The poem has been called “arguably the best-known verses ever written by an American” and is largely responsible for some of the conceptions of Santa Claus from the mid-nineteenth century to today. It has had a massive effect on the history of Christmas gift-giving.
Before the poem gained wide popularity, American ideas had varied considerably about Saint Nicholas and other Christmastide visitors. “A Visit from St. Nicholas” eventually was set to music and has been recorded by many artists.
Other Arthur Rackham’s illustrated works available in our gallery: Rip Van Winkle, Tales of Mystery and Imagination, Book of Pictures, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, Midsummer’s Night Dream, Undine, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Peter Pan in Kensington Garden, The Ingoldsby Legends, Grimm’s Fairy Tales.