Exhibits >> When Phantasie Takes Flight >> Arthur Rackham

Arthur Rackham is one of the most influential illustrators in children’s literature. His works, marked by muted colors, sinuous lines, and long, linear figures, leave readers with a lingering haunted aura. Rackham’s goal in illustration was to bring imagination to life, often creating expressive mannerisms for human and animal characters alike. Many of Rackham’s works contain a suggestion of movement, as if from an imaginary gust of wind as well as tricks of light. His airborne pieces are often considered his best, such as his illustrations for Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens that play with such movement. Rackham believed illustrations should be separate from the text in order to illustrate an entire scene rather than a mere line of text. On examination of his works, one can see he had a truly innovative style, using pen work for his sketches that served as a foundation for his watercolor work.


Peter Pan
Lewis Carroll and Arthur Rackham
from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
William Heinemann
5 ⅞ in. x 3 in.
Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature
Frederich de la Motte Fouqué and
Arthur Rackham
He saw by the moonlight momentarily unveiled, a little island encircled by the flood; and there under the branches of the overhanging trees was Undine
from Frederich de la Motte Fouqué’s Undine
William Heinemann
7 ½ in. x 4 ¼ in.
Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature
Arthur Rackham
Peter Pan puts his strange case before Solomon Caw
from Arthur Rackham’s Peter Pan Portfolio
16 in. x 11 ½ in.
Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature