ARTHUR RACKHAM
(british, 1867-1939)
"MOTHER GOOSE"
Signed bottom right, pen and ink with watercolor and chalk on paper laid down to heavy paper.
image: 6 3/8 x 6 3/8 in. (16.2 x 16.2cm)
sheet: 10 5/8 x 10 5/8 in. (27 x 27cm)
provenance:
Phillips, London, sale of November 10, 1998, lot 108.
Chris Beetles Limited, London, United Kingdom.
Patricia & John Roche, New York, New York (acquired directly from the above in 1999).
exhibited:
"The Illustrators: The British Art of Illustration, 1800-1999," Chris Beetles Limited, London, United Kingdom, 1999 (exhibition catalogue no. 238, illustrated).
literature:
Mother Goose, The Old Nursery Rhymes, London: William Heinemann, 1913 (illustrated on the frontispiece).
note:
Arguably the most celebrated artist of the British Golden Age of Illustration (1850-1914), Arthur Rackham started out as a clerk in an insurance company before illustrating his first book in 1893. Although he is best known for his imaginative black and white illustrations, Rackham also published witty and brash full color plates which helped increase his popularity amongst the public, and catered
to the contemporary demand for high quality illustrated books. In 1913, he illustrated The Old Nursery Rhymes, a well-known collection of fairy tales and nursery rhymes attributed to the fictional archetypal character "Mother Goose." Executed in a subtle color palette, the present work demonstrates Rackham's ability to inject a sense of humor into a haunting, dream-like scene. Used as the book's frontispiece, the watercolor shows a witch-like Mother Goose flying her oversized goose in the London sky, a clear reference to the first verse of her aponymous tale: "Old Mother Goose,/When she wanted to wander,/Would ride through the air/On a very fine gander".

Estimate $8,000-12,000

Sold for $20,000 (buyer's premium included)