Wednesday, February 22, 2012

31. The tale of the rabbit

A wide range of animals was depicted in drawings, lithographs, woodcuts and paintings by Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon, including geese, a stag, a bear, fishes, doves, seagulls, dogs and cats, pigs, mice, bulls, peacocks, dolphins, hares, mammoths, and rabbits. Some of these could be observed in woods or parks.
Two hares, drawn by Charles Ricketts (from Atalanta, June 1890, p. [545])
In his diary Ricketts wrote, 13 May 1901 (Self-Portrait 1939, p. 56):

In the Park an exquisite thing occurred: a young rabbit plunged, not into a hole, at the sight of me, but into the bole of a may-tree. There I tickled him, meaning to take him out, till I feared, from the palpitating of his flanks, that he might faint or die; so I stood off, to see him escape. This, however, he would not do, so I plucked up courage and lifted him out by the scruff of his neck from the dark inner hole where he had been hiding his face. I remember the fantastic sensation of his loose soft skin and huge startled eyes before he escaped into the bracken shoots, to look back at the enemy.

'Spring', a tailpiece (detail) (from The magazine of art, April 1891, p. 204)
A tailpiece, 'Spring', drawn in 1891 for The magazine of art illustrates a child with his playmate, a rabbit.