Arthur Rackham (1867-1939) is best remembered for his success as a painter and illustrator. The rise of his popularity coincided with the beginnings of the fashion for lavishly produced gift books, the most notable of his commissions included his illustrations to The Ingoldsby Legends (1898), Gulliver's Travels (1900), and Grimm's Fairy Tales (1900).
The outbreak of World War I effectively destroyed the illustrated gift book market, but Rackham continued to contribute to charitable publications, of which, perhaps the most important to mention here was his contribution to 'Princess Mary's Gift Book', published by Hodder & Stoughton, in 1914.
Princess Mary was only 17 at the outbreak of the war. She lent her name to a volume of tales and illustrations put together as a charitable effort for the Queen's Wartime "Work for Women" fund. Among the contributing authors were J.M.Barrie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Rudyard Kipling. In addition to Rackham, the illustrators Russell Flint and Edmund Dulac provided drawings for the coloured plates.