Rackham's two volumes of Wagnerian texts (see lot 27), The Rhinegold and The Valkyrie (1910) and Siegfried and The Twilight of the Gods (1911), were both published by William Heinemann (London) and Doubleday, Page & Co. (New York). The first contained thirty-four colour plates and eight black and white drawings, and the other thirty. Rackham wrote: 'I quite expected to make as many enemies with it as friends', later referring to its 'grimness'.
In this composition the giants claim Freia as a pledge, 'till the ransom is paid'. Entitled 'Fasolt suddenly seizes Freia and drags her to one side with Fafner', the published plate was somewhat altered. The left-hand side was cropped to within a short distance of Fafner's threatening fist, losing the windblown leafless tree, and the background was slightly altered. A glimpse of blue sky was removed; the clouds at the top left-hand corner were retouched to heighten its effect in the more cramped design. The original composition gives a stronger impression of figures in a stormy landscape.
The illustrations for The Ring were exhibited at the Leicester Galleries, London in late 1910, and at the Société National des Beaux-Arts, Paris in 1912; Rackham was awarded the Society's medal and elected an Associate.
Christie's are grateful to Anne Stevenson Hobbs for her help in cataloguing this lot.