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That's Where You Meet Hunters and Trappers For the Circuses, Prodding Along Chained Bears and Muzzled Wolves

Arthur Rackham (1867-1939)


Signed and dated 06

Pen ink and watercolour

14 x 10 ½ inches

Rudyard Kipling, Puck of Pook's Hill, New York: Doubleday, Page & Co, 1906, Facing Page 152, 'On the Great Wall'

'The Illustrators. the British Art of Illustration 1837-2015', November 2015-January 2016, No 87; 'Arthur Rackham in Sussex: a 150th Birthday Celebration', Bateman's National Trust House, East Sussex', 15 September-20 October 2017

In the chapter 'On the Great Wall', Parnesius, a Roman centurion, tells the children what it was like guarding Hadrian's Wall. The hunters and trappers are in the north of england, on the way to the wall.
It is interesting that Rackham chose to illustrate this moment, which is not a central image in the chapter's story, but rather an almost throwaway descriptive phrase on the way to the plot's main location. This is perhaps a sign that publishers were giving him free reign, trusting in the knowledge that any choice of scene illustrated by Arthur Rackham would be hugely popular with the book-buying public. Puck of Pook's hill was published at the beginning of Arthur Rackham's personal golden age - from 1905 he enjoyed two decades of the most prolific and prosperous creative work ever seen by an illustrator.

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