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Old and New Karuizawa

Fall/Winter Exhibition: Arthur Rackham and the Age of the Gift Book


Arthur Rackham, who established the “Golden Age of Illustrated Books
Tracing his work and the “Gift Book” period.

Gift books were lavishly decorated and illustrated books published from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century. The main contents of these books were children’s literature such as Andersen’s fairy tales and Grimm’s fairy tales, and the readers could enjoy the stories with beautiful illustrations by artists. They were also appreciated as Christmas gifts.
One of the leading illustrators of these “gift books” was the British artist Arthur Rackham. Rackham became a popular illustrator following the success of “Rip Van Winkle” (1905) and “Peter Pan in Kensington Park” (1906). His illustrations for “Alice in Wonderland” (1907) are still highly popular today. His “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” (1900) sold so well that it was later published in a lavishly enlarged edition.
His characters, such as fairies, animals, knights, and princesses, combine beauty and strength with a hint of sadness, inviting children’s imagination and curiosity. His expressions are often compared to “magic” or “sorcery,” and more than 80 years after his death, his works continue to influence illustrators around the world, with solo exhibitions held throughout Europe.
Rackham’s remarkable success indicates that “gift books” were much desired at the time. On the other hand, after World War I in 1914, the number of such publications declined. The limited cost of printing during this period led Rackham to create “Cinderella” (1919), which used silhouette drawings. His last work, “Tanoshii Kawaside” (1936) by Kenneth Grahame, which he was unable to paint due to a contract and his busy schedule at the time of the commission, was finally completed in his later years. Thus, we can get a glimpse of the “gift book” era from his works.
This exhibition will look back on the “gift books” that have graced the history of children’s picture books, while exploring the fascination of Arthur Rackham’s illustrations. The exhibition also features more than 60 rare “gift books” from the museum’s collection, as well as original drawings by the Robinson Brothers and Leslie Brook, artists who were active at the same time as Rackham.

The Grocers’ Dwarf” by Arthur Rackham, Fairy Tales by Hans Andersen, 1932.

session (of a legislature)

Friday, October 14, 2022 – Monday, January 9, 2023

Karuizawa Picture Book Forest Art Museum

Single theater adult: 950 yen
Single theater junior high and high school students: 600 yen
Elementary school students: 450 yen

Set ticket for two museums with Ertz Toy Museum Karuizawa

Adults: 1,400 yen
Junior high and high school students: 900 yen
Elementary school students: 650 yen


Karuizawa Picture Book Forest Art Museum
*For more information, please go to the tourist facility information at the bottom of the page.

Hours of Operation

October: 9:30-17:00
10:00-16:00 from November to January
Last admission is 30 minutes before closing.

closed day

[October – November] Tuesdays
[December] Tuesday – Friday *Open on Wednesday, December 28 – Saturday, December 31
[January] January 1 (Sun.), 4 (Wed.) – 6 (Fri.)
Open on January 2 (Mon.), 3 (Tue.), 7 (Sat.) to 9 (Mon.)
Closed for winter from January 10 (Tue.) to March 17 (Fri.)

For inquiries, please contact

TEL : 0267-48-3340

For more information, visit the official website.

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