CfP: Arthur Rackham in Sussex on his 150th birthday

Deadline 31 March 2017

Symposium Saturday 16/9/2017

at the Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tale and Fantasy, University of Chichester.


‘I can only say that I firmly believe in the greatest, stimulating and educative power of imaginative, fantastic, and playful pictures and writings for children in their most impressionable years.’

(Rackham, 1934)


19 September 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Arthur Rackham’s birth. A few days before, on 16 September 2017, the University of Chichester and the Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy will host a one-day symposium devoted to Arthur Rackham’s extraordinary legacy. Arthur Rackham was one of the leading illustrators in Britain’s ‘golden age’ of illustration, producing over 3,300 individual book illustrations and decorations. He was at the forefront of new printing technologies, with his pen, ink and watercolour illustrations ideally suited for the new techniques of reproducing illustrations as photographic plates rather than engravings. What’s more, his iconic depictions of fairies, goblins, witches and anthropomorphic trees created an unsurpassed landscape of the fantastic, which influenced the likes of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. His illustrations for many of our best-loved fairy tales and fables have become definitive.

As well as being interested in Rackham’s contribution to imaginative literature, we are also interested in his connection with Sussex, especially his time spent at Houghton House in the 1920s. Rackham is also linked to Bateman’s, Rudyard Kipling’s home in Burwash, East Sussex, through his illustrations of Puck of Pook’s Hill, a tale Kipling based on the house and gardens. This one-day symposium will celebrate Rackham’s connection with Sussex as well as his international renown as a leading figure of fantasy illustration and children’s literature.

Possible topics include but are not restricted to:

  • Rackham’s life in Sussex

  • Rackham’s illustrations of Puck of Pook’s Hill and other work produced in or focused on Sussex and the surrounding area.

  • The artistic techniques employed by Rackham and the printing technology of the early 20th century

  • Rackham’s vision of fairyland, the construction of fantasy realms and his impact on fantasy illustration and children’s literature

  • The impact of war on Rackham’s work and reception

  • Rackham’s engagement with musical themes and depictions of musical tales, such as Wagner’s Ring series and Some British Ballads

  • Contemporary engagement with his work, Rackham’s echoes in the 21st century.

Please send abstracts of 200 words for a 2-minute presentation, along with a brief biography of 50-100 words to VLESLIE1@stu.chi.ac.uk and H.Robbins@chi.ac.uk

Deadline for submission of abstracts is 31 March 2017.

The conference will belong to a wider series of events organised by the Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy, including an exhibition of original Rackham works in collaboration with the National Trust at Bateman’s, as well as a series of creative, innovative and research-led responses by the Fine Art, Music and English and Creative Writing departments of the University of Chichester.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *