"I AM NOT REALLY MUCH INTERESTED IN THE BOOKS I ILLUSTRATED BEFORE RIP VAN WINKLE": THE FIRST OF RACKHAM'S DELUXE SIGNED LIMITED EDITIONS, RIP VAN WINKLE, A BEAUTIFUL COPY, WITH A RACKHAM AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED MENTIONING THE WORK LAID IN
(RACKHAM, Arthur) IRVING, Washington. Rip Van Winkle. London: William Heinemann, 1905. Quarto, original full pictorial vellum gilt, renewed ribbon ties, top edge gilt, uncut, custom slipcase.
Deluxe signed limited first edition, with 51 full-color mounted plates by Rackham, number 5 of only 250 copies signed by Rackham, one of the smallest limitations for a Rackham title and "the first book illustrated wholly by Rackham to be issued in a limited edition" (Riall). One of the most scarce and desirable Rackham titles. With a two-page autograph letter signed by Rackham regarding Rip Van Winkle laid in.
"Rip Van Winkle of 1905 was a turning point in Rackham's career because of its 51 color plates. Known previously as a black-and-white artist, Rackham with this book achieved preeminence as an illustrator working in the three-color process… Rackham's Rip Van Winkle is among the most thoroughly illustrated of English books… His 50 illustrations, which are grouped at the end, come at a rate of one to every two or three sentences… presenting Rip's story in the most ingenious and engaging detail" (Ray, 203-04).
The laid-in autograph letter by Rackham is dated 8.1.28, addressed to Charles Rubens of Chicago (envelope included), and reads: "Dear Sir, I think the fullest list of books with my illustrations has been made by the Grolier Club of New York. They have found out many not included in Mr. Birnbaum's list: and among them are several of whose existence I was not aware. I am not really much interested in the books I illustrated before Rip Van Winkle: and there are several of which I have no copies, & even no record. Some have appeared without my knowledge—being reprinted from various series of magazine articles which I illustrated many years ago. And there are some 'boys' books' of very slight interest that I have lost sight of, & do not even know the names or the publishers. I think if you wrote to Mr. Henry Smith of Dutton & Co., V Av., New York, he would be able to help you. I know he has been interested in complete collections of my work (& is a member of the Grolier Club)… with many thanks for your good wishes, yours faithfully, Arthur Rackham." Ribbon ties renewed. Ray 328. Latimore & Haskell, 26. Riall, 69.
A bit of foxing to endpapers only, text and plates clean and fine. Vellum clean, gilt bright. A lovely copy, desirable with an autograph letter signed by Rackham mentioning Rip Van Winkle laid in.