New York: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1908. First American edition. A Very Good copy, complete as issued, with all 40 tipped-in color illustrations and tissue guards (although one tissue guard detached). Signed by Rackham on the limitation page. Lacking the silk ties, as usual. In the publisher's white cloth binding with some of the gilt rubbed & dulled, some colored over in ink. Internal contents are generally in attractive condition with minor separation within the page block, leaves adjacent to the illustration leaves toned and a couple leaves with short tears. One of our favorite Rackham productions, combining Shakespeare's wonderful play with Rackham's whimsical illustrations in a lovely edition.
Arthur Rackham was one of the great illustrators of the early 20th century, a period which is referred to as the “golden age” in British book design. His works were produced in both limited and mass market editions as there was a large market for ornately illustrated books before the First World War. Rackham used a unique style, thought to mix European and East Asian influences, that involved both pen and India Ink as well as watercolor. His work was displayed all over Europe – and received awards at International Exhibitions in Milan and Barcelona and Rackham would influence heavily many illustrators, especially those of children’s books, who came after him. "Rackham's illustrations to Grimm, Hans Andersen or Poe show him at his most imaginative and observant of human nature, while his gnomes, fairies and gnarled anthropomorphic trees in Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens or A Midsummer Night's Dream represent his more fantastic side.... He was - and remains - a soloist in front of an orchestra, a player with the responsibility to interpret and add a personal lustre to great works with variations of infinite subtlety and grace" (Hamilton). Very Good (Item #1449)