The Picture Show. A Novel Picture
Book for Children
London: Ernst Nister
and New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., [n.d., ca. 1896]
 pp. With 4
chromolithographed pop-up illustrations; engravings in the text. original
cloth-backed chromolithographed boards.
9 3/4 X 7 1/2" -
; 25 cm.8vo. Unpaginated. Quarter cloth.
Condition: Pop-ups are
in fine condition. They are all original, complete and without damage or
repairs. See photos - Both covers are worn at the right corners and the front
shows slight indication of water stains which do not appear on back or any
inside pages. The fly sheets show aging of the paper, reattached with repairs
to protect the fragile edges as well as to preserve the nicely written gift
inscription "To Louie E. Hay from Aunt Jennie Xmas 1898." The inside pages, neatly re-attached, are
basically clean showing very little age
yellowing with smooth edges. There are 28 pages including four double-page pop-ups.
glazed boards with charming picture of a young girl dressed in a Period costume
playing a mandolin with a small dog sitting nearby. In the background still clearly readable is a
poster: "Notice This way to the Picture Show, Open the door and in you go,
Entrance free to tinyand great. Be in time
then you won't be late!"
The book is
illustrated throughout with charming pictures many of which are signed or
initialed. The brightly colored pop-ups are in original and in superior condition
with few repairs. This is especially
nice as some of the pop-ups have very intricate details and beautifully colored
(1) Skipping Time: There are three layers of pop-ups with the
background a lovely flowering meadow of the English
countryside with sheep. Three girls and a boy play a skipping game with a long
jump rope. In the back pop-up a pretty young girl is poised ready to jump into
the swinging rope. Her legs have been re-glued hardly noticeable. The thin rope has a small bend but is intact
in excellent condition, with no repairs, and swings high. The middle pop-up
shows a boy and girl swinging the rope while another child watches. The top pop-up is two
dogs watching the activity. An
especially charming pop-up!
(2) The Seaside:
Here is a full array of Nister's charm in playful children. In the background seven children play in the
sand. The first pop-up shows two
children riding donkeys with a boy walking beside them, three looking out
toward the beach and two digging in grassy sand. The top pop-up includes a woman
sitting in a sling chair watching as young teases a small girl with a crab he has
caught. This pop-up deserves a long look
at the details including facial expressions and the detailed depicting of
clothing of the time.
(3) Kiss in the Ring: In the background children feed the ponies and
peep over the gate to watch a circle of children playing. The first pop-up depicts a prancing circle of
seven children playing Ring Around the Rosey.
In the top pop-up a dog watches the circle game as a mother holds a small
child while another gives it a kiss. While this is the usual Nister ideal world
with neat and tidy children at play, this particular pop-up is especially
interesting for collectors. The
Hunts (Peeps Into Nisterland, p. 294) describe unique research details. You can
clearly see three separate pictures have been used. The background is from a picture called
"The Disputed Way" Ada Dennis
(1862-1900). The first die-cut pop-up
showing the children playing if also by Ada Dennis from a picture called
"Ring-a-ring-o' Roses." She was a well-known English artist who did
many works of children for Nister. This
group appears in other Nister books such as the cover of a later book, Round
and Round Pictures (c.1914). The top
pop-up, "A Kiss for Baby,'" was illustrated by H.M. Bennett (1877-1892).
Her beautiful pictures of children can be seen in many Nister early
works. While it was not unusual to use
many images in a single work this is a unique, successful mixture.
(4) Orchard background with group of sheep and
blossoming trees with two young girls holding a lamb. The first pop-up depicts
two girls holding a wagon feeding three lambs.
The colorful top pop-up shows a dog with sheep and geese, often repeated
Nister stand-bys in many books, in an ideal world.
This well preserved
book is not only delightful to see and read but certainly it should not only be
in the collection of any Nister fan but also for anyone sincerely interested in
the development and complex compilation of such books.