Arthur Rackham was a leading illustrator of the so-called Golden Age of illustration. He initially started working as a clerk but went at the evenings to Lambert School of Art to develop his artistic skills. He was already 25 years when he left his job to become a reporter and illustrator at Westminster Budget. It took him another few years to build some reputation on his pen and ink drawings.
His first success came with fantasy illustrations for Ingoldsby Legends, Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, and Gulliver's Travels. At the turn of the 19th to the 20th century, he was already an established artist but his major breakthrough was definitely Rip van Winkle published in 1905, following by Peter Pan in next year. From then on he became known by his skillful and unique use of colors as well. His fame rose and he became one of the most respectful illustrators in the world. He regularly exhibited his works and organized public auctions of original of his illustrations, typically done in 2:1 ratio, what gave him more options for including tiny yet important details which distinguished his work from most of his contemporaries. He married his neighbor who was also an artist (portrait painter and sculptor), they had a daughter, who later often posed for different characters, and they all lived in a large house with two art studios.
Rackham won two gold medals in exhibitions in Milan and Barcelona, his work was presented in numerous exhibitions, including Louvre, and his book editions were by default printed in different editions. De lux, bound in vellum, numbered and signed by him were meant for prestigious gifts and soon became targets of collectors. So-called quarto and octavo editions were less decorated and of course not so pricey.
The industry of picture books roughly peeked around World War I and declined after 1920. After his death demand for his works rose again and his original drawings and first editions of his books (especially signed) are still in very high demand. His influence was huge. Many contemporary artists still find inspiration in Rackham's work.