Cats at Play
London: John F. Shaw, [c. 1900-1904]. First edition. Publisher's quarter decorated cloth over full-color glazed pictorial boards, corners a little worn.Small quarto (9 5/8 x 7 1/8 in; 245 x 180 mm). A few illustrations hand-colored by a child. Closed tear to bottom edge of page. 17. Early ink presentation dated "Christmas 1905" on front paste-down. Illustrated throughout in black and white and color, with fifteen drawings by Louis Wain, and an unrecorded text drawing by Arthur Rackham (so initialed) on page 40. Unrecorded and scarce, with no copies noted in the Wain or Rackham bibliographies.
Anytime an unrecorded book illustration by Arthur Rackham comes to light, it's an item for collectors to note. Buried within this book, unheralded, on page forty, is a black and white text illustration of four chickens in various states of distress as they observe, in high dudgeon and with no little annoyance, a cat within their food bucket chowing down the chicken feed. And at the lower left of the bucket, as small as can be, are Rackham's initials as typically drawn. Latimore and Haskell, and Riall make no mention of this illustration in their Rackham bibliographies, and the Arthur Rackham Society expressed no knowledge of it when we inquired. A true scarcity -- a previously unknown Rackham during his transitional period, when his fairies and goblins were emerging but had not yet fully vanquished the simple, pay-the-bills work of his early years.
Cf. Dale 34 and 35. (Item #3810)