Illustrator and watercolourist, born in Lewisham, England, and educated at the City of London School, studying art at Lambeth School where he was influenced by his fellow student Charles Ricketts. Rackham joined the staff of The Westminster Budget, and from that time forward concentrated on the illustration of books, particularly those of a mystical, magic or legendary nature. He very soon established himself as one of the foremost Edwardian illustrators.
The introduction of full-colour printing in the early 1900s enabled him to use subtle tints and muted tones to represent age and timelessness. Rackham's imaginative eye saw all forms with the eyes of childhood and created a world that was half reassuring and half frightening. His sources were primarily Victorian, and among them are evidently the works of Cruikshank, Doyle, Houghton and Beardsley. But he was also deeply influenced by the much earlier prints of Dürer and Altdorfer. He was elected to the Royal Watercolour Society in 1902, and after 1922 he undertook oil painting and some stage designing. He was a member of the Langham Sketch Club and exhibited widely at home and abroad. Rackham died on September 6, 1939.