Before Christmas" (1931)
Illustrated by Arthur Rackham
"The Night Before Christmas" (1931) was a version
of the classic poem attributed to Clement Moore, "A Visit from St Nicholas"
by a suite of illustrations from Arthur Rackham.
Moore was a Professor of Oriental and Greek literature at
Columbia College - now Columbia University .
Generally credited as author of "A Visit from St Nicholas", a poem published anonymously
in 1823, Moore is thus, associated with a poem that
has been referred to as "arguably the best-known verses ever written by an American" (Burrows and Wallace, 1898).
Prior to the publication of "A Visit from St Nicholas",
conceptions of Santa Claus varied widely throughout the World.
Following that publication, the characteristics of Santa
Claus have consolidated, however, with the poem being identified as a significant factor
in the creation of a
jovial and religion-free old elf concerned with spreading joy to children
through the world.
In 1962, William and Ceil Baring-Gould ("The Annotated Mother
Goose") referred to Rackham's suite for "The Night Before Christmas" as
being amongst his most "celebrated illustrations" and writing
more than 3 decades after the First Edition was published, Dorothy de Goza
wrote of the enduring popularity of the Moore's poem and
Rackham's accompanying illustrations upon the release for the latest edition for
Christmas of 1967, thus:
Then, for a breath from Santa, we might add the new
edition of "The Night Before Christmas".
This is illustrated by Arthur Rackham and the pictures
are as gay as the lines.
For "The Night Before Christmas" (1931),
Arthur Rackham prepared a suite of illustrations including 4 major colour images, 17 monotone
designs, End Papers,
illustrated Title and Half-Title pages in addition to the design for the illustrated Dust Jacket (which was also used for
On the left, we show a rare copy "The
Night Before Christmas" illustrated by Rackham and
produced by George C Harrap & Co. Ltd
(London) in 1931 that retains the original illustrated
To the right, we show the illustrated
Title Page designed by Rackham.