Thursday, 10 July 2014


"Onion-sauce!  Onion-sauce!"  he remarked jeeringly,
and was gone before they could think of a reply

first choice of illustrator for his classic book The WIND In The WILLOWS.
Alas, for whatever reasons, it was not to be - at least, not until almost thirty years
after Grahame's death, by which time ERNEST H. SHEPARD had come to be
regarded as the definitive artist of the riverside and woodland creatures who
feature in this timeless tale.

Rackham's illustrations are not without merit - however, his portrayals of
TOADMOLE, RAT and BADGER are too anthropomorphised for my tastes
and, it has too be said, not as appealing (unattractive even) in the way that Shep-
ard's versions are.  But they are what they are, and Rackham is one of the best-
loved artists of his time, so here are all twelve of his colour Willows pictures
for you to cast a leisurely and appreciative eye over.

To collectors of various illustrated editions of the book, this is one that's
well-worth having as it has an introduction by A. A. MILNE which features
a letter to Grahame from President THEODORE ROOSEVELT.

"Shove that under your feet," he observed to
the Mole, as he passed it down into the boat

The Mole begged as a favour to be
allowed to unpack it all by himself

It was a golden afternoon.  The smell of the
dust they kicked up was rich and satisfying

The Rat pondered awhile, and examined the
humps and slopes that surrounded them

The Badger's winter stores, which indeed were
visible everywhere, took up half the room

Crossing the hall, they passed down
one of the principal tunnels

He presently reappeared, somewhat dusty, with a bottle
of beer in each paw and another under each arm

She arranged the shawl with a professional fold, and
tied the strings of the rusty bonnet under his chin

To-day, however, though they were civil enough, the
field-mice and harvest-mice seemed preoccupied

The wayfarer, as he reached him, saluted with a gesture
of courtesy that had something foreign about it

The gypsy took his pipe out of his mouth and remarked in
a careless way, "Want to sell that there horse of yours?"


Paul McScotty -Muir said...

Ahem! where's my daily Babe?

Kid said...

She'll be along later, McScotty. In the meantime, check out the gaoler's daughter in pic 9.

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