gnarled tree with girl wearing red cloak with wolf in LRC

Little Red Riding Hood, 1909

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Richly illustrated gift books enjoyed a heyday in early 20th-century England, and Arthur Rackham was the foremost illustrator of the time. His combination of grace and grotesque, worked out in intricate detail, appealed to children and adults.

The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm (1900) was among Rackham’s earliest successes. Demand was such that the book was reissued in expanded form in 1909, with forty new full-page color illustrations. This drawing of Little Red Riding Hood’s encounter with the wolf is Rackham’s original illustration for the 1909 edition. For the earlier edition, he had supplied a small pen and ink drawing tightly focused on the girl and the wolf. When reconsidering the passage, he emphasized the forest, contrasting the small child with the towering woods. The tendrilous limbs and roots of the gnarled, Argus-eyed tree seem far more threatening than the scruffy cur, from whom the innocent girl clearly expects no trouble.

Little Red Riding Hood
Artist Life
British, 1867-1939
Accession Number
[James F. Drake, Inc., New York, until 1923; sold to MIA]
Curator Approved

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gnarled tree with girl wearing red cloak with wolf in LRC