"A TURNING POINT IN HIS CAREER": THE FIRST OF RACKHAM'S DELUXE SIGNED LIMITED EDITIONS, RIP VAN WINKLE, BEAUTIFULLY BOUND IN PICTORIAL MOROCCO-GILT
(RACKHAM, Arthur) IRVING, Washington. Rip Van Winkle. London: William Heinemann, 1905. Quarto, later full red morocco gilt with pictorial morocco onlays to front cover, raised bands, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt . $7800.
Deluxe signed limited first edition, with 51 full-color mounted plates by Rackham, number 212 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), beautifully bound by Bayntun-Riviere in elaborate full morocco-gilt with a pictorial onlay on the front cover depicting an aged Rip Van Winkle. One of the most scarce and desirable Rackham titles.
"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 binding features a wonderful pictorial front panel with an image of an elderly Rip Van Winkle, taken from the plate opposite page 44. Ray 328. Latimore & Haskell, 26. Riall, 69.
A beautifully bound copy in fine condition.