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    [Arthur Rackham, illustrator]. Izaak Walton. The Compleat Angler, or The Contemplative Man's Recreation. Being a discourse of rivers, fishponds, fish and fishing not unworthy the perusal of most anglers. Illustrated by Arthur Rackham. London: George G. Harrap & Co., [1931]. One of a presumed fourteen presentation copies issued by the publishers with an original Rackham watercolor and specially bound for a special event (this copy is numbered "17" and may have been added to the special publisher's presentation issues at a slightly later date). One of 775 numbered copies, signed by the artist. Quarto (10.25 x 7.625 inches; 260 x 193 mm.). 223 pages. With twelve color plates, and descriptive tissue guards inserted, and twenty-five drawings in black and white. Bound by Zaehnsdorf in modern full green levant morocco, boards triple-ruled in gilt, spine decoratively stamped in gilt, front board stamped in gilt, gilt board edges and turn-ins, green silk doublures and liners. This is not in the original publisher's special binding mentioned above, but in a later fine binding. Housed in matching quarter green morocco clamshell case. A few leaves foxed (including the half-title with the original watercolor.) Fine.

    A superb copy with a charming watercolor. Richard Riall notes that Harrap launched The Compleat Angler at a presentation party on September 24, 1931. There were fourteen guests and each guest was presented with a leather bound edition of the book. Within each volume there was a signed ink sketch by Rackham on the half-title. Although this copy is just out of the number sequence of the first fourteen copies (and may have been presented to another recipient at a later date,) it has a charming original watercolor drawing on the half-title of two fishermen, one happy with his huge catch, the other seething in jealousy. The watercolor is signed by Rackham on the lower left corner, and dated 1931.

    Rackham had been adding special watercolours to volumes since the early 1920s as commissions to supplement his income. Riall notes, however, that "publishers realized there was a profitable future in these original watercolours, maybe it was highlighted as an added attraction at the Harrap dinner for The Compleat Angler, when the presentation copies were received. This is pure conjecture, but what is certain is Harrap created the ultimate gift book..." Riall states that from The King of the Golden River, "Harrap issued nine or ten copies, seven being for sale, of a special issue of the first limitation numbers of the limited edition. Each was bound by Sangorski and Sutcliffe in green morocco, with marbled end-papers and the pictorial end-papers bound in as separate leaves. These books contain a fine original ink and watercolour drawing, signed and often captioned Rackham." Riall notes that the titles that were treated were: Ruskin, The King of the Golden River; Hans Andersen, Fairy Tales; Rosetti, Goblin Market, The Arthur Rackham Fairy Book; Browning, The Pied Piper of Hamlin; Poe, Tales of Mystery and Imagination; and Ibsen, Peer Gynt. Latimore & Haskell pp. 66-67.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2019
    5th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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