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Received my 2 Frank Richards magnets. The Greyfriars Second Eleven and Bunters Christmas carol. Many thanks for all your help. I wish all the staff at Stella Books a very happy Christmas, and a great new year. M.M. (UK), Dec. 2013

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Movable Books
An Illustrated History
by Peter Haining

Movable Books: An Illustrated History by Peter hainingIngenious, quirky, beautiful – some of the adjectives to describe the numerous pop-up and movable books available to our children (and adults too) today. It's difficult for us to imagine a time without them but four hundred years ago there were virtually no books for children at all, never mind the novelty books that are so familiar to us now.

Peter Haining's wonderful and informative book begins with a brief history of children's books leading up to the mid-18th century when Robert Sayer, a inventive bookseller, produced The Harlequinade. This was the first printed item for young children which could be described as a movable book, having turn-up pages with interchangeable pictures.


From these beginnings Haining traces the history of the movable book from the Victorian age, taking in panoramas, peepshows, mechanical books, dressing dolls, through to the pop-up books produced in the 1930s. The book is packed with colour photos showing examples of the different types of movables, some of which can still be found today in specialist rare book shops.

A History of Little FannyHaining informs us that one of the earliest dressing doll books is 'The History Of Little Fanny Exemplified In Figures' first issued in 1810. This was the most famous of the series of ten Paper Doll Books invented by S. and J. Fuller, a printing firm in London. Inside all the books were seven hand-coloured cut-out figures in different costumes, plus a single head having a long tag for the neck which could be inserted into a pocket at the back of each figure. The doll and costumes from the 1811 edition are pictured in Haining's book.

We are then taken through the era of 'Toilet Books: The Idea From A Dressing-Table” and the Paignion, an elaborate slot book which took the Fuller's Paper Doll idea further, with 65 figures to place in the pictures. Then a brief history of Dean & Son, founded just before 1800 and the oldest firm in London to have been continuously engaged in producing books for children. The company not only became one of the first to make extensive use of lithography but is considered to be the originator of movable books.

Peepshow books

Peepshow books (left) and panoramas became popular in the mid-nineteenth century and once again S. and J. Fuller were among the earliest publishers to produce these delightful ephemeral items. Haining's book depicts a peepshow based on Don Quixote (left) and a panorama of Cowper's John Gilpin.

A considerable number of pages are devoted to the early movable and pop-up books with pictures animated by pulling a tab and three-dimensional pictures that rise from the page. Raphael Tuck and Ernest Nister, both from Germany, were among the forerunners in the production of these beautiful creations.

 

According to Eric Quayle, collector and historian of children's books, one of the finest three-dimensional books ever produced was a Nister production entitled Peeps Into Fairyland. Published around 1895 this large colourful picture book had pages operated by linen slips which pulled up four layers of scenery as the pages opened. The equipment and colour printing techniques used by the German companies superbly reproduced the finest artwork and all colour printed books from this period, particularly from Bavarian printers, are much sought-after by collectors.

Peeps into fairylandPeeps into Fairyland

The most elaborate and complex movables ever produced were those of yet another German - Lothar Meggendorfer. Produced in the 1880s and 1890s, the mechanisms and operations of the Meggendorfer books are far superior to any others published before or since, and Haining's book goes into great detail about how these marvels of ingenuity worked.

Story of a Fierce Bad rabbit

Haining continues to describe further novelty books which appeared in the early 20th century. These included shaped books, books which opened up to form houses, shops and zoos, trick books which gave the illusion of the picture changing, and books with 'dissolving' pictures. He relates what he describes as one of the strangest and most surprising stories about a panorama toy-book – that of Beatrix Potter's 'The Story Of A Fierce Bad Rabbit'. Despite Miss Potter's popularity, the book was not the success that had been expected. Such was the appeal that, when it appeared in the bookshops, few customers, the young or old could resist picking it up and handling it. Like all panoramas it was delicate and thus did not last very long and booksellers found they were left with damaged copies which were unsaleable. 'The Story of Miss Moppet' had already been produced in panorama style but sadly there were to be no more.It comes as no surprise to learn that undamaged copies of either of these delightful little books are now very diffcult to find.

Wild Animals

Haining concludes his book with description of the decline of the production of movable books since the first world war and the emergence of the pop-up book which we are familiar with today. The most importance of these from a collecting point of view are the Bookano volumes, produced in the 1930s by Strand Publications and edited by S. Louis Giraud. The attraction of these was that if the pages were repeatedly partly opened and closed, not only did the figures stand up, but they continued their movements with, for example, men sawing logs and birds flapping their wings.

BookanoMeggendorfer

Haining ends his book thus: “In conclusion, it should perhaps be mentioned that although in many people's minds the term Pop-up has come to signify the whole school of movable books, I hope it has been shown in this survey, the first book-length history to be attempted, that the field was actually a creative wonderland of colour, ingenuity and often complicated movements which went far beyond such a simple generalisation. Although, sadly, these pages cannot move and take on life like the originals, I trust that at least the splendid colour photography helps to convey something of the magic of two hundred years of movable books”.

And indeed it does. A book which is a must for all interested in these beautiful and intricate works of art.

Contributed by Chris

Archive of other Featured Books



A selection of MOVEABLE books in stock...

ROCKET COUNTDOWN
Sharratt, Nick. Illustrated by Sharratt, Nick. Stock no. 1401078
Walker Books. 1st. 1995. Slightly better than very good condition with no wrapper. Your rocket is ready; commence countdown! Lift the flaps and pull the tabs. Square format. Glazed pictorial boards. Vivid colour illustrations. Browning to spine. Slight fading to edge of front cover. Contents excellent. [R] 0744539013.
Price: £10.00
ANIMAL MOVES
No author listed. Illustrated by Apperley, Dawn. Stock no. 1401076
The Bloomsbury Publishing Co. Ltd.. 1st. 1998. Slightly better than very good condition with no wrapper. Turn the pages and see how the animals move in this bright and colourful pull-tab book. Glazed pictorial boards, Square format. Paper engineering by Jose Luis Rulz Garrate Spine slightly faded and a little bumped. Contents fine. [R] 0747535507.
Price: £6.00
THE TICKLE BOOK
Whybrow, Ian. Illustrated by Scheffler, Axel. Stock no. 1401067
Macmillan Children's Books. 1st. 2000. Very good condition with no wrapper. Look out - there's a Tickle Monster about! Pull the tabs, lift the flaps and discover how tickly a book can be! Large square format. Glazed pictorial boards. Colour illustrations. Spine is slightly faded and a little bumped. Last tab too stiff to use otherwise contents fine. [R] 0333781511.
Price: £10.00
THE GREAT PYRAMID
Cooper, Roscoe. Illustrated by Croll, Carolyn. Stock no. 1401060
British Musuem Press. 1st. 1997. Very good condition with no wrapper. Spine and lower part of boards faded. Small split in spine which is also bumped. Contents are excellent. [R] 071411913X.
Price: £9.50
THE GOOD HEALTH KIT
Smith, Richard. No illustrator listed. Stock no. 1401055
Book Club Associates. 1st. 1987. Very good condition with no wrapper. A complete interactive fitness programme. White glazed boards. Music cassette, wall charts, information dials, test-yourself quizzes. Design by Van der Meer paper design. Corners bumped. Spine is slightly faded. Moveables in very good order. Tape has not been tested. [R]
Price: £6.00
SNAKES AND OTHER REPTILES IN ACTION
Gay, Tanner Ottley. Illustrated by Cassels, Jean. Stock no. 1501027
Child's Play (International) Ltd.. 1st. 1991. Nearly fine condition with no wrapper. A first science pop-up book. Glazed pictorial boards. Colour illustrations. How does a snake swallow its food? What is the difference between a crocodile and an alligator? Why does a snake never seem to close its eyes? You can read this pop-up action book to find out the answers for yourself! Tiny nick at top of spine. Contents excellent. [R] 0859535487.
Price: £5.00

Click to view our complete selection of MOVEABLE books


 
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