Category:

Monthly Archives: September 2013

Happy Birthday Arthur Rackham!

Last week marked the 146th anniversary of the birth of Arthur Rackham, illustrator extraordinaire. Best known for his work on children's books, fairytales, and classics, Arthur Rackham's distinctive style continues to be recognized and admired by modern illustrators, art lovers, and readers alike.

Arthur Rackham was born on September 19, 1867 to Anne and Alfred Rackham.  One of twelve children, Arthur grew up to follow in his father's footsteps and began work as a clerk with an insurance company when he was eighteen.  He soon grew bored with that and began taking night classes at a nearby art school.  In 1892, he began work as a full time illustrator with the Westminster Budget where his drawings of everyday life in London and famous personalities were a hit.  They were so popular that he often was assigned to draw royal events, such as the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of York in 1893, who would later be known as King George V and Queen Mary.

As photography began to become more popular in the newspapers, Rackham turned to book illustrations, contributing for several travel books and developing his style by contributing to other works before his first major success in the form of the illustrated Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales in 1900.  The book that really put him on the map, as it were, was his 1905 illustrated Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving.  In this book, Rackham's iconic style is fully developed and becomes enormously popular with each successive year seeing at least one new work published with illustrations by Arthur Rackham.

Rackham is known for various elements that combine in his work such as:

  • flowing lines
  • muted watercolors
  • backgrounds with hidden images or "surprising information"
  • a balance between sensuousness and chastity in his fairies and nymphs
  • just the right amount of ugliness to not be frightening in his trolls
  • forests filled with twisted trees
  • the juxtaposition of the frightening with the beautiful in a single image

In addition to his stunning watercolor prints, Rackham would more frequently do black and white line drawings.  Occasionally he would experiment with silhouette, and this is showcased beautifully in his illustrated The Sleeping Beauty (shown below).

The Sleeping Beauty

Rackham continued his illustrative work until his death from cancer on September 6, 1939.  His last work, completed just before his death, was an illustrated Wind in the Willows that was published posthumously in 1940.

We have a wide range of books and folios showcasing Arthur Rackham's work, including those from the Limited Editions Club and some first editions.  So if you get the chance, come celebrate the life of one of the most beloved children's/fairytale illustrators with us here at Special Collections.

Sources used:

"About Arthur Rackham." The Arthur Rackham Society. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2013. <http://arthur-rackham-society.org/about_the_artist.html>. 
"Arthur Rackham." Arthur Rackham. N.p., 1998. Web. 16 Sept. 2013. <http://www.bpib.com/illustrat/rackham.htm>.
"Rackham 101." Aleph-Bet Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2013. <http://www.alephbet.com/arthur-rackham-101.php>.
Scott, LaRue. "Arthur Rackham Illustrations." British Heritage 24.4 (2003): 52. EBSCOhost. Web. 18 Sept. 2013. <http://ehis.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?sid=9321715c-f7d8-456c-a626-c6de6fb3fc32%40sessionmgr11&vid=1&hid=5&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=f5h&AN=9676268>.

Author Self-Portrait:

http://www.art-prints-on-demand.com/kunst/arthur_rackham/self_portrait.jpg

Tagged with:
Posted in Special Collections

Unsolved Mystery #3: Extrait des Registres du Parlement

You might think I'm cheating a bit with this week's Unsolved Mystery.  After all, this manuscript is catalogued; it's even fully digitized!  We know where it came from, how we got it, and we have a general outline of its contents.  Not much of a mystery, right? 

Well, like most of our Unsolved Mysteries, there are more pieces of the story to uncover.

esm000002pa0001

This manuscript on the laws of Paris and the French Parliament is attributed to Monsieur Drouyn de Vandeuil, the first President of the Parliament of Toulouse, and contains a history of France and a register of French royalty. There is also an extract of the minutes of the French Parliament.  The manuscript seems to have been written by two separate scribes.  We assume it's a fair copy of minutes and other working documents.

This manuscript belonged to the French lawyer and bibliophile Jacques Flach. His collection was purchased by the University of Missouri in 1920, and the manuscript has been here ever since.  It is available through the University of Missouri Digital Library.

esm000002pb0341

To our knowledge, the manuscript has never been published or studied – so we have an outline of the text, but we don't know its contents in detail. 

How did Flach come across the manuscript? Is the attribution correct? Has the text ever been published?  What information does it contain?

If you have information about this or any other of our unsolved mysteries, email us at SpecialCollections@missouri.edu – and stay tuned for another Special Collections mystery next week.

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Rare Book Collection, Special Collections

Unsolved Mystery #2: The Book of Ruth

IMG_6313Thanks for the interest in our first Unsolved Mystery post!  We're presenting these items as great opportunities for students or faculty to do some original research – so if you'd like to work on any of these materials, let us know.

The next item in the series is a small Hebrew scroll with a wooden handle.  We refer to it as the Book of Ruth, since that's the identification of the text on its label.  But since none of us reads Hebrew, we haven't verified whether Ruth is actually the text.  Mr. David Birnbaum, a Hebrew Biblical text scholar from the University of Chicago Law School, confirms that our scroll manuscript is indeed the Book of Ruth. [added 10/31/2013]

IMG_6305This Hebrew text is manuscript on parchment and is clearly the work of two scribes.  The entire piece measures about 7 inches tall, including the handle.  We assume that its small size and humble materials indicate that it was used for personal study, but that's just our conjecture. 

Where was the scroll produced?  How old is it?  And how did it get here?

As always, feel free to email us at SpecialCollections@missouri.edu with any information – and stay tuned next week for another Unsolved Mystery from the Special Collections vault.

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Rare Book Collection, Special Collections

Unsolved Mysteries of Special Collections

 They’ve come to us across four thousand years of history, from at least three different continents, representing many cultural traditions.  We know just enough about them to tantalize us – and we’d like to know more.  Each week we'll be sharing a new mystery from our collections.  Can you solve the Unsolved Mysteries of Special Collections?

 

 

Sorry, not those Unsolved Mysteries.  We’re talking about Special Collections materials we’d like to know more about.

Unsolved Mystery #1: Cuneiform Tablets

Special Collections holds eight cuneiform tablets whose exact provenance is unknown. Seven of the tablets were donated to MU Libraries by the now-defunct Ernest McClary Todd Museum, formerly a part of the School of Journalism. They may have come to the University in the early twentieth century.

Tablet MULC 8 (Z113 .P3 1#1 item 1a) was acquired as part of the Pages from the Past collection, which was a portfolio of leaves and artifacts sold by Foliophiles in the 1960s.

Six of the tablets were recently published by a researcher at the University of Heidelberg. The remaining two tablets are thought to be from the Old Babylonian period (1900-1600 BCE) and are currently unedited.

Where did the tablets come from? What information do the two unpublished tablets contain?  What, if anything, is known about the Ernest McClary Todd Museum?

If you have information about this or any other of our unsolved mysteries, email us at SpecialCollections@missouri.eduStay tuned next week for another Unsolved Mystery from the Special Collections vault.

 

 

MULC 2

 

 

MULC 8

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Rare Book Collection, Special Collections

The X-Men Turn 50!

On September 1, 1963, fifty years ago this week, youngsters were greeted by a new comic book series on the shelves. Marvel Comics, after finding success in creating individual characters like Spider-Man, Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk, decided to take a chance on telling the story of a group of heroes. These heroes were teenagers who, through no action of their own, developed powers through genetic mutations. After being ostracized from society for merely being different, they banded together under the leadership of Professor Charles Xavier and became…
…The Uncanny X-Men! To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the mutant menagerie, Special Collections has put together a list of fun facts and trivia about the superhero squad, both in print and on film.
Did you know that…
…the original five X-Men were Cyclops, Angel, Beast, Iceman and Marvel Girl? Only Beast was in X-Men: First Class, the film adaptation about the formation of the X-Men.1
…Professor Xavier named his students “X-Men” because of the “extra power” their mutation gave them?
…because of the way the X-Men are shunned for being different, mutants have been used as an ongoing allegory of minorities in society, such as African Americans and homosexuals?
…the character Wolverine first appeared in a 1974 issue of The Incredible Hulk?
…the entertainment website IGN lists X-Men arch nemesis Magneto as the greatest comic book villain of all time? He ranks above (or below, depending on your perspective) the Joker, Lex Luthor and Loki.

2
…Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine has appeared in six movies (X-Men, X2, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-Men: First Class, The Wolverine), and he will make his seventh appearance in next year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past? He holds the record for most film appearances as the same comic book character, followed by Robert Downey, Jr.’s five appearances as Tony Stark (Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, The Avengers, Iron Man 3).

4

…X-Men Origins: Wolverine star Ryan Reynolds has appeared on film as three different comic book characters? He’s portrayed Wade Wilson (X-Men Origins: Wolverine), Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) and Hannibal King (Blade: Trinity).
…the X-Men film franchise has grossed $2.2 billion worldwide, beating out the Indiana Jones, Superman and Star Trek franchises?
…Hugh Jackman has expressed interest in Wolverine joining The Avengers in an upcoming movie? Unfortunately, that’s unlikely to happen, as Fox owns the film rights to Wolverine and the X-Men, while Disney owns the film rights to The Avengers.  However, Fox also owns the rights to the Fantastic Four, and comic book author and screenwriter Mark Millar has hinted at a Fantastic Four/X-Men crossover film.

3
…the cast of X-Men: Days of Future Past contains three Academy Award-winning actresses? Jennifer Lawrence, Anna Paquin and Halley Berry have all taken home an Oscar.
…when Patrick Stewart (Professor Xavier) was married in 2013, he asked his friend Ian McKellen (Magneto) to officiate the ceremony? McKellen obliged.
…all of the pictures on this page were taken from comics and graphic novels contained in Special Collections? We encourage everyone, mutant and human alike, to come in and take a peek at what we have to offer!

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Comic Collection
Be Sociable
Facebook  Twitter  Tumblr Special Collections and Rare Books
Archives
%d bloggers like this: