London: George G. Harrap & Co., (1933). Octavo, measuring 9 x 6 inches: 287, . Original full vellum, front board lettered and triple-ruled in gilt, spine lettered and illustrated in gilt, pictorial endpapers printed in gold, top edge gilt, all other edges uncut, brown silk ribbon marker. Half title with limitation signed by Rackham on verso. Color frontispiece and seven full-page color plates on glossy paper; black-and-white illustrations throughout text, many full page. Faint spotting to binding, spine gently toned. Housed in custom blue cloth clamshell box with red morocco spine label.
Signed limited first edition of this collection of fairy tales from around the world, number 444 of 460 copies signed by illustrator Arthur Rackham. Stories from The Arabian Nights, including “Sindbad the Sailor” and “The Story of Aladdin,” appear beside European fairy tales like “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Ugly Duckling,” “Cinderella,” “Little Red Riding-Hood,” and “Hansel and Grethel.” Also featured are the traditional English folktale “Jack and the Beanstalk” and Washington Irving’s American legend, “Rip Van Winkle.” In his introduction, Rackham praises the imaginative legacy of these “old favourites” of the nursery: “their incidents, characters, and even phrases have become part of our everyday thought and expression, and help to shape our lives.” Rackham’s intricate, otherworldly illustrations, rendered in rich muted tones, tie the wide-ranging tales together. A near-fine copy.