London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd, 1917. First trade edition. Octavo (8 1/4 x 6 5/8 inches; 210 x 169 mm.). Publisher's dark blue cloth, front cover and spine pictorially stamped in gilt. Minimal rubbing to extremities,. neat ink inscription "Xmas 1917" on front free end-paper, some very minimal foxing mainly on tissue-guards. Collating xxiv, 509, [1, blank]. Sixteen color plates with captioned tissue guards, including frontispiece and seven black and white plates. Seventy black and white illustrations. Gilt on spine very slightly dull, otherwise a Near Fine copy.
"The Romance of King Arthur (1917) was another wartime book, commissioned, like the Allies' Fairy Book, to reflect - and cash in upon - the nations' mood of patriotism, and martial endeavor. In preparing for the commission, Rackham turned to his own copy of Beardsley's Morte D'Arthur and, following the pattern of the Beardsley version, drew square and rectangular chapter headings to be set at irregular intervals up and down the page. As in Beardsley, these have a stark black and white appearance, though Rackham cannot resist the occasional wryly humorous touch such as a barking dog or a jester's head. The closest Rackham comes to Beardsley, however, is in his illustration of Sangreal, a flaming lidded chalice carried by an attenuated golden-haired white-robed maiden. This homage to Aubrey is based closely on Beardsley's own angel in The Achieving of the Sangreal, the frontispiece to Volume Two of Morte D'Arthur" (Hamilton 111-112).
Latimore and Haskell 47. Riall 130. (Item #3713)