Evans, C.S. (editor). Rackham, Arthur (illustrator).The Sleeping Beauty. London and Philadelphia: William Heinemann & J.B. Lippincott Co., 1920. First Edition, Limited Edition. Signed by Rackham.
This is a desirable, limited edition printing of The Sleeping Beauty, edited by C. S. Evans and illustrated and signed by Arthur Rackham. Published in 1920 by London’s Constable & Co. and Philadelphia’s WIlliam Heinemann, this collectible printing is numbered #260/625 copies of the “Edition de Luxe,” of which only 600 were made available to the public. The book is presented in the original publisher’s deluxe quarter vellum over Japanese vellum-covered boards, stamped in gilt, and finished with top edge gilt.
The earliest known version of The Sleeping Beauty is found in the narrative Perceforest, composed between 1330 and 1344. The tale was first published in 1634 by Giambattista Basile in his collection of tales titled The Pentamerone. Basile's version was later adapted and published by Charles Perrault in his Histoires ou Contes du Temps Passé in 1697. Perrault (1628 – 1703) was among the first writers to bring magical children’s stories into the literary mainstream, proving to his original seventeenth century readers that such works were important and enjoyable, as well as thought-provoking. The version that was later collected and printed in 1812 by the Brothers Grimm was an orally transmitted version of the literary tale published by Perrault.
In 1919, C.S. Evans adapted and expanded the beloved and cherished stories of Cinderella and then The Sleeping Beauty in order to give his brilliant illustrator, Arthur Rackham, maximum opportunity to exercise his gifts. The product of their collaboration are two of the most wonderful editions produced of these, or any other, fairy tales. In these 1919 and 1920 printings, Rackham mastered his black and white silhouette style. "Cinderella and The Sleeping Beauty differed from Rackham’s preceding books in relying almost wholly on silhouette for their effect. It is immediately clear from the collection of images that Rackham is a master of the medium, being able to evoke character and humor by profile and gesture alone and allowing the two-dimensional effect of his pen work to lead the reader through the book and keep the story going." (James Hamilton. Arthur Rackham: A Biography, p. 188)
Thoroughly illustrated with numerous illustrations and in-text silhouettes, this book is a testament to Rackham’s illustrating prowess. Rackham’s “fanciful imagination gave his illustrations instant recognition, and his dedication to illustration kept him in the public eye for 30 years” (Hodnett, 233).
Charles Seddon Evans (1883 – 1944) was a well respected writer, editor, and folklorist, who brought this magical story to life. He began his career as a schoolmaster before joining the publishing house of Edward Arnold as the Educational Editor in 1909. He moved to the firm of Heinemann in 1913, where he spent the rest of his working life, becoming Chairman and Managing Director in 1932. He wrote this version of The Sleeping Beauty to serve as a companion volume to his previously published 1919 edition of Cinderella, which was also illustrated by Arthur Rackham.
Arthur Rackham (1867-1939) was one of the most celebrated painters of the British Golden Age of Illustration, which encompassed the years from 1850 until the start of the First World War. Rackham’s artistry is unparalleled. Throughout his career, he developed a unique style, combining haunting humor with dream-like romance. Presented alongside the text, his illustrations enhance Perrault’s enchanting narrative.
A beautiful printing, in very good condition. First, limited edition. Numbered #260/625 copies of the Edition de Luxe. 4to. Publisher's deluxe quarter vellum over Japanese vellum-covered boards, stamped in gilt; top edge gilt, other edges untrimmed. Minimal wear to boards, with light bumping to corners and spine. Signed by Rachkam. Internally, the book is clean and in good condition.
Decorated profusely with Rackham’s illustrations. One tipped-in color plate, color frontispiece, color-illustrated title-page, 16 full-page silhouette illustrations (4 in color, 7 double-page), and numerous black and white illustrations.
Book Dimensions: 11 5/8" H x 9 1/8" W x 3/4" D.