"THE STORY OF KING ARTHUR… IS ONE OF THE GREATEST THAT MEN HAVE EVER MADE": DELUXE LIMITED EDITION OF RACKHAM'S KING ARTHUR, ONE OF ONLY 500 COPIES SIGNED BY HIM
(RACKHAM, Arthur) MALORY, Sir Thomas. Romance of King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table. London: MacMillan, 1917. Large thick quarto, original full vellum gilt, top edge gilt, uncut.
Deluxe signed limited first edition, number 413 of 500 copies signed by Rackham, lavishly illustrated with 16 full-page mounted color illustrations and 70 black-and-white drawings (seven full-page).
Rackham received his commission for this superbly illustrated edition of Malory's masterpiece (first published by Caxton in 1485) while World War I still raged—a fact that perhaps explains his illustrations' generally dark view of the Matter of Britain. From Arthur's first unsheathing of Excalibur in the midst of fierce battle beneath overcast skies, to his tragic clash with his traitorous son on the dark fields of Camlann, Rackham confronts readers with combat, conflict and death. Despite (or perhaps even because of) this grim realism within a fantastic context, "Rackham's work became balm for wounded soldiers, as one mother wrote: …When [my son] was getting better from very bad wounds… your illustrations of Books were his great joy and delight" (Hamilton, 112). Without scarce original textured transparent dust jacket. Lattimore & Haskell, 47. Riall, 130. Hudson, 170. Bookseller label.
Some very faint foxing to mounts only; just a touch of soiling to vellum. A bright, near-fine copy.