Arthur Rackham’s Amazing Trees

bw_trees1Many people stop looking at trees after the leaves fall off, but this is when I think trees become the most interesting. And one of the best artists at interpreting trees in all their raw, twisted glory is the great Arthur Rackham (1867-1939). He was famous for illustrating classic fantasy and children’s books such as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, and influenced generations of artists who came after him.

His trees are especially unique, and often become characters in the story. The world of humans and nature come together, and it is often hard to distinguish between his whimsical characters and their surrounding landscape. He had a flair for making his trees seem like living creatures, often literally with faces and arms, but also just by their organic and sinewy shape, as they grip the earth with their claw-like roots.

So the next time you go walking in the winter, stop to notice the trees, and you may be pleasantly surprised. I will discuss more of Rackham’s work in future posts, but in the meantime, here are just some of his amazing trees.

Red Riding Hood

Red Riding Hood

Rip Van Winkle

Rip Van Winkle

Rip Van Winkle

Rip Van Winkle

Grimm's Fairy Tales

Grimm's Fairy Tales

Tales From Mother Goose

Tales From Mother Goose

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6 Responses to “Arthur Rackham’s Amazing Trees”

  1. Bob Flynn says:

    Fantastic trees. And I agree—Trees can be a lot of fun to look at and draw when they are barren and twisting.

  2. Marie Tobin says:

    Woods are so much a part of those old tales – Rackham must have been fascinated with woods and trees himself to draw them so well- thanks for sharing! and yes, bare of leaves, each tree seems to have a personality- droopy-dejected, optimistic-reaching, graceful-dancing, twisted-crazed and so on! I think that is part of their fascination this way- their touch on our minds- and how we respond.

  3. Amy Conley says:

    Rackham is indeed amazing…. but i have to say i prefer the cheery drawings of Kristina!

  4. Amy Conley says:

    Truly beautiful! Would make great posters. And CD covers!

  5. Amy Conley says:

    oops, i meant to leave that last comment under Kristina’s work!

  6. I feel like trees and old woods in general are so captivating and mysterious; They come alive. I can see how so many storytellers and artists have personified trees.

    Agree- would make great posters.