Paris: Hachette et Cie. 1909. Limited edition. Hardcover. 1/330. Folio (11 3/4 x 9 1/4"). , 134, pp. Uncut. Original gilt-stamped full vellum, with gold lettering to spine and front cover. Top edge gilt. Tipped in color frontispiece. Illustrated title page in black and gold lettering.
Originally published in London by William Heinemann (1908), this limited edition of William Shakespeare's romantic comedy takes on a new and vivid life in these brilliant images by Arthur Rackham, one of the preeminent illustrators of the early 20th century.
This work is indeed splendidly illustrated throughout with numerous in-text and full-page b/w illustrations as well as forty striking color plates mounted on brown art paper, all with captioned tissue guards. "Some of the floriated headings are the finest of Rackham's line at the time, as for example the heading vignette for Act One, Scene One, which with typical Rackham irrelevance spreads its tendrils over the page, and into the text, ignoring the fact that the setting is supposed, according to Shakespeare, to be the Palace of Theseus, and throwing us immediately into a tangle-wood Rackhamerie, with mice, pixies and a sleeping maiden." (Fred Gettings. Arthur Rackham, pp. 117-123).
One of 330 numbered copies on Vélin paper, of which this is No. 168.
Binding partly age-toned and foxed along spine and edges. String tie detached but present. Minor and sporadic offsetting throughout. Text in French. Binding in overall good, interior in very good condition. g to vg. Item #43604
About the illustrator: Arthur Rackham (1867-1939) is widely regarded as one of the greatest illustrators of the ‘Golden Age’ of British book illustration. He worked with many publishers on both sides of the Atlantic during his prolific career and in the process won multiple awards. His work is housed in numerous collections and is highly sought after.