Tales from Shakespeare 1909 Edition

Tales from Shakespeare 1909 Edition

Tales From Shakespeare – Definitive Rackham Storybook Splendor

At the peak of Golden Age gift book production, Arthur Rackham reunited with the Lambs’ Tales From Shakespeare initially released in a quality 1901 trade run before this extravagant 1909 large-format limited edition. Strikingly illustrated with 13 mounted color plates and abundant decorative letters and vignettes spanning miracles and murders, here Rackham further cements reputation as supreme Shakespeare visual interpreter next to titans like Edmund Dulac.

Let Rackham’s magic spirit you along with Romeo, Puck and Lady Macbeth before the curtain falls!

Buy Tales from Shakespeare (1909)

The rare 1909 signed limited edition of Tales From Shakespeare with Rackham’s brilliant Bard visions

  • 13 mounted color plates spanning some of Shakespeare’s most famous works with whimsical charm
  • Pinnacle Rackham encapsulating the heart of England’s literary and fantasy treasures
  • The holy grail for fans and collectors of Rackham, Shakespeare, children’s literature, or theater
  • Edwardian fantasy storytelling at its most transportive and technically dazzling

Encased in white buckram with gilt lettering and a central vignette, this large quarto 1909 limited release of Tales From Shakespeare stands over 11 inches tall. The top edge flashes gold accenting the rough-cut bottom, evoking antiquarian charm. Pages inside feature Arthur Rackham’s characteristic Midsummer fairy motifs, preparing readers for 13 mounted color plates with captions printed underneath every image.

These dynamic scenes are protected by tissue guards with extra plates beyond the concurrent standard trade editions, like an impish Puck conjuring dreams. Surrounding stories, numerous smaller pen and ink drawings grace chapter headings or chapter closes, transporting audiences into realms blending tearful romance, jarring bloodshed, and ethereal whimsy with equal panache, often on successive pages. Every part of this production screams masterpiece, with Rackham’s abundant organic decorative borders signaling the zenith of commercial illustration’s prestige capabilities.

For collectors, details like the rose silk ties and texture contrasts channel the full opulence fantasy art reached by 1909 when signed limited runs became required possessions denoting Edwardian cultural status.

Limited Edition (1909):

  • White cloth binding with gilt edges, silk ties, etc. (304 pages + Rackham artwork);
  • Limited to 750 copies signed by Rackham

Trade Editions (1901):

  • UK: 3 variants – light blue, dark blue, or purple cloth (304 pages)
  • US: Matches UK versions
Tales from Shakespeare 1909 Edition Puck note


  • Limited Edition: 8 1⁄8 x 11 1⁄4 inches
  • Trade Editions: 6 1⁄8 x 9 inches

Text: Tales from Shakespeare
By Charles & Mary Lamb
Illustrated by Arthur Rackham
London, New York
J. M. Dent & Co., E. P. Dutton & Co.

Illustrations by Arthur Rackham: 13 mounted color plates, 2 black & white plates, 20+ decorated letters/spots


  • UK: J.M. Dent & Co.
  • US: E.P. Dutton & Co.

Between the sumptuous silk-bound volumes, sprawling Rackham forests bid Bottom and his troupe welcome just as sinister caverns summon Macbeth unto crowns bought in blood. Each play condensed into poignant storybook encapsulations receives resplendent treatment through Rackham’s tireless attentions to emotive postures and haunting landscapes channeling timeless resonance. For Rackham devotees, no children’s theatre or fairy trove rivals this Edwardian virtuoso performance transporting Rackham into creative immortality.

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