A Christmas Carol Tradition with Rackham and Dickens

A-Christmas-Carol-Arthur-Rackham-1915 (2)A-Christmas-Carol-Arthur-Rackham-1915

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens with illustrations by Arthur Rackham.

The story of Scrooge is arguably one of the most famous stories that is retold over the festive period. Written by Charles Dickens, it was published just before the Christmas of 1984 and sold out immediately.
A-Christmas-Carol-Arthur-Rackham-1915 (2)The novel describes the wealthy miser, Scrooge, whose unsociable and mean temperament is transformed after several ghostly visitations. The book has proved to be an enduring success. It has never been out of print and has been published in various formats and styles since it’s release.

Arthur Rackham, a leading illustrator of children’s books at the time, worked on one of the most famous editions in 1915. Rackham was very selective about the books he worked on generally only illustrating one a year and for this year A Christmas Carol was chosen. His vision of the characters completely captures the intentions of Charles Dickens. Rackham employs a novel use of bold outlines and colour washes to vividly portray the pre and post spirit of Scrooge. In addition, Rackham employs the popular technique of silhouette for his black and white illustrations within the book.

A publisher’s marketing ploy at the time was to publish two versions of a book. One was regarded as a “trade” edition with a simpler and cheaper use of paper and material for the covers. The other edition, made for the gift market, comprised of finer paper and was usually limited in numbers and signed by the illustrator.

Looking through the images of the book transports the reader to a Victorian Dickens Christmas. A rare festive treat!

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