Essex

Arthur Rackham first editions go under the hammer for more than £40,000

A Christmas Carol signed and inscribed by Rackham

A collection of first edition books illustrated by Arthur Rackham has fetched more than £40,000 at auction.

The 26 books were sold at Sworders' auction rooms in Stansted Mountfitchet in Essex.

Twenty-one of the books are signed and inscribed with humorous pen and ink drawings by the by the 20th Century illustrator.

Rackham is known for his illustrations in A Christmas Carol, Gulliver's Travels and Wind in the Willows.

He died in 1939 and is widely regarded as one of the leading illustrators of the last century.

The books were all given as presents to his wife's sister and her husband and were handed down through the family who live on the Essex/Hertfordshire border.

Each book has has a cloth cover with gilt embossed titles.

Sworders' managing director Guy Schooling said: "The vignettes are absolutely exquisite.

"They're of a high quality and packed with humour - it's a rare find."

Since his death at the age of 71, Rackham's work has grown in popularity and his images have been featured in greeting cards.

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Media captionArthur Rackham died in 1939 and is widely regarded as one of the leading illustrators of the last century.

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