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 thoughts on “Arthur Rackham’s Amazing Trees

  • December 7, 2009 at 12:06 am
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    Fantastic trees. And I agree—Trees can be a lot of fun to look at and draw when they are barren and twisting.

  • December 7, 2009 at 11:25 am
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    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.

  • December 7, 2009 at 11:09 pm
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    Rackham is indeed amazing…. but i have to say i prefer the cheery drawings of Kristina!

  • December 7, 2009 at 11:09 pm
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    Truly beautiful! Would make great posters. And CD covers!

  • December 7, 2009 at 11:10 pm
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    oops, i meant to leave that last comment under Kristina’s work!

  • December 7, 2009 at 11:14 pm
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    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.

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