During the VV's teenage years, instead of pinning posters of pop stars on her bedroom walls, she had some lovely printed cards, each one with softly rounded corners, and all depicting illustrations designed by Arthur Rackham.
Arthur Rackham 1867 - 1939. A self portrait
How serious and respectable he looks in this self portrait; more like a stern accountant than the man whose art created scenes of fairytales and myths. But then, he had once been employed as a clerk at the Westminster Fire Office, before enrolling in a part-time course at the Lambeth School of Art.
Fairy on a Spider's Web
At the age of twenty-five, Arthur left his job to work full-time at illustrating books. He devised his own techniuqe, at first sketching a pencil outline and then blocking in some colour, finally using india ink to add the finer details. Sometimes this 'sepia' stylistic theme was enhanced with watercolours, building up the layers in a series of transparent tints. He also worked with silhouettes, inspired by Japanese woodblocks.
A decidely Japanese influence in this illustration from Das Rhiengold
The film director, Guillermo Del Toro, says that Rackham was an inspiration for some of his finest work, most notably the faun in his film, Pan's Labyrinth. And then, there is the tree seen growing through an altar in the film entitled Hellboy. This Del Toro has referred to as his 'Rackham Tree'.
The faun in Pan's Labryinth
Arthur Rackham was prolific and although his work oozes romance it is never in the least bit twee.
The Rhinemaidens from The Ring
Today, there is a wealth of Arthur Rackham's work to view online, with his classic illustrations reproduced in many books – such as in the fairy tales collected by the Brother's Grimm, Lewis Carol's Alice in Wonderland, the Romance of King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table, the book of English Fairy Tales, and Peter Pan, and then The Ring - to touch on but a few of them.
Do you have a favourite?