London: William Heinemann, 1909. Quarto, measuring 11.5 x 9 inches: , 134, . Original full vellum, front board lettered and decorated in gilt with tree design, spine lettered in gilt, top edge gilt, all other edges uncut, stiff brown endpapers. Half-title, with limitation signed by Rackham on verso. Title page printed in brown and black. Frontispiece and 39 full-page color plates tipped onto heavy brown paper with printed tissue guards; dozens of black-and-white illustrations, including full-page designs, vignettes, frames, headpieces and tailpieces. Lacking silk ties. Light soiling to binding and toning to spine, some toning to pages adjacent to brown paper leaves.
Signed limited first edition, number 701 of 1000 copies, of illustrator Arthur Rackham’s legendary treatment of A Midsummer-Night’s Dream: “And as imagination bodies forth / The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen / Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing / A local habitation and a name.” Rackham was at his best in imagining the personality and play of fairies. His famous color plates capture the elegant hauteur of Titania, the impish plotting of Puck, and the comic confusion of Bottom, but the success of the book stems as much from Rackham’s vignettes and frames, glimpses of the fairy mischief on the margins of Shakespeare’s world. A very good example of a classic gift book, one of the high spots of the Golden Age of Illustration.