What's New at ArtMagick

Free download - desktop wallpaper for December 2009

Each month ArtMagick offers a free wallpaper download, imprinted with that month's calendar. The download for December2009 is now available:

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(Instructions: click the link above which represents the size of your computer's desktop, then right-click and select 'Set as Desktop Background' (or equivalent option). The monthly calendar appears on the right side of the image.)

About this month's picture

The Art
This month's picture comes from the special Christmas edition of the 1907 Pall Mall Magazine (The Pall Mall Magazine, Christmas Double Number, Vol. XL, December 1907, No. 176).

The illustration is of 'Santa Claus' after a drawing by Arthur Rackham, A.R.W.S.

Arthur Rackham (British, 1867-1939) is one of the most famous illustrators of childrens books, and the original drawing is in a private collection today.

Rackham's wife, Edyth Starkie (Irish, 1867-1940), was also an artist and a "portrait painter of considerable distinction" and "who did so much at the beginning of his career to encourage his fantasy drawings".  Edyth exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts in London: titles include 'Lilla' (1897), 'St Cecilia' (1898) and 'Pippa Passes' (1899).

Edyth's nephew was Walter Starkie, best remembered today for his book 'Raggle Taggle' telling of his wanderings through 1930s Europe: "His travels as a fiddler with Romany gypsies in the Balkans produced the well-liked Raggle-Taggle (1933), which he followed with Spanish Raggle-Taggle (1934) and Gypsy Folklore and Music (1935)."  Edyth's niece was the scholar Enid Starkie.

The Rackhams occupied a studio at Primrose Hill Studios which had earlier been used by John William Waterhouse.

The Poem
The quote on the calendar download "And once again my dreams restore / The Santa Claus of Long Ago" comes from a poem published in 1894 in 'The English Illustrated Magazine' :

Santa Claus of Long Ago
By Charles Cushnie

To-night within my lonely den
    My fancy fain would haye me soar
Beyond the Now and back to Then--
    The happy, childish Nevermore;
 The tales I used to linger o'er,
The little nursery all aglow.
    And once again my dreams restore
The Santa Claus of Long Ago.

His world was far beyond my ken,
    For mine was just the nursery floor.
He came, they told me, after ten--
    And never through the curtained door!
 I cannot tell you what he wore,
I never saw his form, you see;
    And yet he gave me toys galore,
The Santa Claus of Long Ago.

Ah, if he'd only come again
    As once he came in days of yore,
Ere boys grew into sombre men,
    And maidens voted dolls a bore,
 The world would have no dreary roar,
And life no dull adagio.
    He cometh not from yonder shore,
The Santa Claus of Long Ago.

'The English Illustrated Magazine', Volume 16, 1894

Santa Claus
The special Christmas edition of the 1907 Pall Mall Magazine from which the Rackham illustration comes can be read online at Google Books. It includes an article about the origins of Santa Claus by the writer and illustrator Dion Clayton Calthrop.




Comment by Angela Gunning
Made 12/8/2009 2:30:36 AM

Thank you for the 2009 Santa Clause calendar download. It's wonderful! Warmest holiday wishes, Angela

Comment by Master of plants.
Made 12/20/2009 2:03:21 PM

Beautiful. Thanks.

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