The professor can't stand that sort of thing thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F

The professor can't stand that sort of thing

Book Illustration
1932 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The style of this illustration reveals Arthur Rackham's background as a caricature artist. It was made for Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales, published in 1932. Nicknamed the 'beloved enchanter', Rackham was the leading British illustrator of the early 20th century. He is best known for his illustrations to fables and fairytales, featuring gnomes, fairies, ogres and trees with human characteristics. He combined sometimes disturbing settings with humour to make his images loved by children and adults alike.

Rackham began his career drawing caricatures in black and white for magazines like the Pall Mall Budget and Punch. His career really took off, though, when he turned to fantasy illustration in 1898 and began to work in colour. These illustrations were published as gift-books until the 1920s. He continued to caricature live models even in his fantastical work, and sometimes included portraits of himself. He said that whether or not an artist believed in the world of fairies, he 'must make it as real as if he did'. Even the furniture and crockery for the Mad Hatter's tea party in Alice in Wonderland (1907) were modelled on his own. Rackham continued to illustrate books into the 1930s. His last work, fulfilling a longstanding wish, was in 1936 for The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Pen and ink and watercolour on paper, mounted on card
Brief Description
Book illustration to Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales, drawing to illustrate 'Little Ida's Flowers' on page 18, by Arthur Rachham, in pen and ink and watercolour, 1932.
Physical Description
Caricature of a professor in frock coat and top hat talking to two thistles. He holds an open book and carries a green satchel-bag over his shoulders. The thistles have human features. One has a pink head; the other is green-leafed and holding a top hat. The image is coloured but the grass is black.
Dimensions
  • Height: 22cm
  • Width: 26.5cm
Marks and Inscriptions
  • ARackham (1) Signature; bottom left below image; pencil)
  • (cut off note unconnected with illustration) (back of mount; hand-written; pencil)
Subjects depicted
Summary
The style of this illustration reveals Arthur Rackham's background as a caricature artist. It was made for Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales, published in 1932. Nicknamed the 'beloved enchanter', Rackham was the leading British illustrator of the early 20th century. He is best known for his illustrations to fables and fairytales, featuring gnomes, fairies, ogres and trees with human characteristics. He combined sometimes disturbing settings with humour to make his images loved by children and adults alike.



Rackham began his career drawing caricatures in black and white for magazines like the Pall Mall Budget and Punch. His career really took off, though, when he turned to fantasy illustration in 1898 and began to work in colour. These illustrations were published as gift-books until the 1920s. He continued to caricature live models even in his fantastical work, and sometimes included portraits of himself. He said that whether or not an artist believed in the world of fairies, he 'must make it as real as if he did'. Even the furniture and crockery for the Mad Hatter's tea party in Alice in Wonderland (1907) were modelled on his own. Rackham continued to illustrate books into the 1930s. His last work, fulfilling a longstanding wish, was in 1936 for The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.
Bibliographic References
  • Andersen, Hans Christian. Fairy Tales. London, George G. Harrap & Co. Ltd., 1932.
  • The Works of Arthur Rackham. London, Leicester Galleries.
Collection
Accession Number
E.171-1969

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record createdJanuary 6, 2004
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