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Once Upon A Time: The Fairy Tale World of Arthur Rackham, Unique Binding



Once Upon A Time: The Fairy Tale World of Arthur Rackham

Published by William Heinemann, London in 1976

Unique Onlaid Full Leather Binding by Timothy Wolfendale

Exceptional Condition

Binding Details:  Unique leather binding by Timothy Wolfendale of full tan morocco leather featuring a stunning cover design that portrays “Advice from a Caterpillar” from Rackham’s Alice in Wonderland. The onlays consist of multi-colored leather and sterling silver elements for the caterpillar and complimentary onlays for the mushrooms and other elements in the scene. 

The book is housed in a solander cloth case with a leather spine label with gold gilt titling. The box was designed by David Carlson of D&D Galleries who created a sophisticated internally engineered environment to ensure that the onlays are very well protected.

Timothy Wolfendale is a bespoke jeweler and designer bookbinder located in South Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom. Over the past 20 years, he has created some remarkable bindings for Alice in Wonderland and Wind in the Willows that are among the most expensive designer bindings ever to come to auction at Sotheby’s. To my knowledge, only 3 of his bindings have ever been available for sale and the prices realized have been in the $20,000 plus range.

Book Details:  Published by William Heinemann, London in 1976, “Once Upon A Time: The Fairy Tale World of Arthur Rackham” is an anthology edited by Margery Darrell of the famed illustrator's best work accompanying the short stories "Peter Pan in Kensington", "Rip Van Winkle" and the complete "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens as well as excerpts from Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," the Brothers Grimm's "Seven Fairy Tales, Aesop's "Fables" and Charles and Mary Lamb's "Three Tales from Shakespeare." Commenting on the illustrations in the book, Christa Kamenetsky from Project Muse wrote, “The full-page illustrations are set off by narrow white frames matted on dark olivetinted paper—a device that magically enhances the soft browns, grays, and silvery whites of Rackham's illustrations. Depending on the light conditions, the matting has an antique gold or a raw umber effect, like many of the Rackham drawings themselves. In quoting Rackham: "Nothing less than the best that can be good enough for those early impressionable years".

Measuring approximately 9.5” x 7.5” and containing 250 pages, the book also contains a table of contents and an introduction by Margery Darrell on the works and life of Arthur Rackham.

Condition Report:  The binding is in FINE condition. Internally, the book is very clean with no signs of previous ownership. The solander box is also in FINE condition. Overall, this is beautiful binding by one of the true masters of the craft that houses an wonderful anthology of the work of Arthur Rackham.

Photographs of the binding and the solander box appear in the photo section of the listing.