Undine By De La Motte Fouqué 1909 Rackham

Undine By De La Motte Fouqué

Undine Cements Rackham’s Reign Visualizing Fairy Lore

Coming off fame visualizing the Brothers Grimm and other fantasy staples, Arthur Rackham tried his hand at Undine – Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué’s 1811 German fairy tale debut concerning a water spirit adopted by humans with tragic consequences. Though new territory, Rackham’s 15 mounted color plates and 30 line drawings capture the romantic yet foreboding story with expected mastery for deluxe 1909 gift editions.

Catch the elusive water spirit before daybreak shatters the dream!

Buy Rackham’s Undine

Rare 1909 Rackham paintings visualizing seminal German folk spirit tragedy Undine.

  • 15 mounted color plates and 30 line drawings encapsulating the fantasy belle epoch
  • Operatic folkloric mystery of water nymphs bridging fairy tales and modernism
  • Essential collector’s item for Rackham, fairy tale, Art Nouveau, or fantasy fans
  • Revelatory creative statement as Rackham breaks new imaginative frontiers

Following collector-oriented vellum limited runs, quality cloth-bound trade versions delivered Rackham atmosphere toward wider ownership. With ornamental borders gradually overtaking text across his oeuvre, Rackham morphs into a conceptual artist conveying impressions through assign space as much as illustrations. After cementing his reputation resurrecting classics, Undine gauges creative growth suggesting Rackham’s next chapter moving beyond inherited tradition into pioneering visions paralleling European modernism.

UK Limited Edition (1909):

  • Cream vellum binding with gilt edges, silk ties, etc. (136 pages + Rackham art);
  • Limited to 1000 copies signed by Rackham

Trade Editions:

  • UK: Blue cloth binding with mounted color plates (136 pages)
  • US: Grey boards with color plates (136 pages)


  • UK Limited Edition: 9 x 11 1⁄2 inches
  • Trade Editions: 7 1⁄8 x 10 inches

Text: Undine By De La Motte Fouqué
Adapted from the German by W. L. Courtney
Illustrated by Arthur Rackham
London: William Heinemann
New York: Doubleday, Page & Co.

Illustrations by Arthur Rackham: 15 mounted color plates, 30 black & white drawings, decorated endpapers (UK)


UK: William Heinemann

US: Doubleday Page

Buy Undine 1909 Editions

Released when interest in Northern myths peaked, Rackham’s sumptuous 1909 editions introduced Undine to new audiences. The tale matched both the Pre-Raphaelite Medievalism Rackham adored and Art Nouveau floral motifs signifying his stylings.

  • Limited Edition – Cream vellum binding with gilt edges, silk ties, etc. (136 pages + Rackham art).
  • Blue cloth binding with mounted color plates (136 pages).


Originally a German novella by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué in 1811, Undine adapted ancient European water spirit folklore to tell a tragic romance about the title character gaining a soul by marrying a human knight named Hulbrand. Blending fairy tale magic with emotional potency, the story of ill-fated passion between realms fascinates leading poets and composers.

Undine swiftly flourished across languages through early 19th century Romantic era tastes. Ensuing decades saw prolific artistic interpretations, including renowned fantasy novelist Hans Christian Andersen citing Undine’s inspiration for his Little Mermaid plus E.T.A. Hoffmann collaborating with Fouqué himself on a successful opera adaption. Even medical literature borrowed Undine’s name for a breathing disorder.

As Rackham dominated fantasy scene at 1909 peak, his sumptuous take returned Undine into public imagination just as cinema began embracing similar folk themes. Disney animators studying his watercolor Syrens surely absorbed lessons on conveying uncanny melancholy. Over a century since enchanting English and German readers, Undine continues attracting dreamers to dangerous yet irresistible depths.

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