Sunday, 28 July 2013

Watching the new sculpture of a large blue cockerel being lifted into place on the spare plinth in Trafalgar Square, reminded me of this lovely book find picked up earlier this year (see photo left). It is only a simple board book but the colours on the front board are still very vivid. Inside, the book is packed with small line drawings, mainly of cats. The inside front board has the following handwritten dedication' This is the first prize that Samuel Brown has ever had at the age of 3 years, 9 months....'. I have reproduced my listing information below. 

 Comical Doings

Published by Ernest Nister, London.

 Not dated but estimate 1890 -1900. 

24 pages. 18.5cm x 13.5cm. Numbered 1534
Printed in Bavaria.
Unrecorded edition on COPAC.
Ernest Nister (1842 - 1909) set up a publishing company in Nuremberg in 1877 and opened a London office in 1888, although the printing of his books continued to be carried out in Nuremberg. He published about 500 illustrated books for children but from 1890 the company produced almost exclusively either toy or moveable books. The publishing company ceased in 1916.

The book contains a selection of unattributed short poems and is illustrated throughout in black and white. Frontispiece is a tipped in colour plate, which is now almost all stuck down and is missing a very small corner. Most of the illustrations are of cats, with one double page being by Louis Wain (1860 - 1939) and a few other illustrations by William Foster (1853 - 1924). Most of the illustrations are unsigned.

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