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Lebende Bilder - 1890 J F Schrieber movable theater book with vovelle c: 1889

Rare1884 Movable
Theater Book with 4 scenes plus a spinning wheel (vovelle)

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Lebende Bilder:
Vier perspektivische Scenen zur Ergötzung und Freude der Kinderwelt

(Translation: Living Pictures: Four Scenes in Perspective for the Amusement and Delight of Children)

Theater Book with 4 scenes plus a spinning wheel (vovelle) Large 4to. (ca. 34 : 28 cm unfolded). C: 1880

Author: Franz Bonn
J.F. Schreiber ca.1880
Esslingen, Germany

Papiertheater. - Lebende Bilder. Im Zirkus. - Kasperl-Theater. - Die Menagerie. - Vor dem Tore. Foldable chromolithogr. paper theater in 4 segments, each with 5 levels. Esslingen, J. F. Schreiber um 1880.

Condition: The spine has been replaced.The fly sheets and title pages are clean and in very good condition. The text is complete and printed in very attractive letters surrounded by a neatly designed enclosure. The paper shows aging with scattered tears and smudging. They have all been backed with paper to reinforce the supporting of the fragile, multi-layered pop-up scenes and edge wear of the text pages. Here also there is additional support as this is an easily torn process. All the ribbons are original and have left some staining evidence of their use. All pop-up figures are complete and working! Scene 2 has a well done facsimile of the little girl. On scene 4 the swan is a facsimile - otherwise all original. The covers are in good condition with limited shelf rubbing.


Very Rare original German pop-up published by the firm that produced a number of Meggendorfer's.The date of ca. 1884 is based on the English publication by The International News Company N.Y. It can be presumed that the original German title was earlier.

Since the word "pop-up" was not yet known or used we have here four scenes in "perspective" in a very rare book. The book, more than 150 years old although showing some of its age as described, is still complete and as enjoyable as long ago and a very desirable collector's find.

The front cover has a very beautiful paste-on picture of children in a flower flying through a cloud filled sky being pulled by a flock of colorful butterflies.They are surrounded by a large curtain maintaining the theater settings popular at the time. The cover is further enhanced by the gold title, fringes on the curtains and the threads held by one child who gently lifts a small whip to lead the attached butterflies. The sides have the usual age dusting but the cover remains one of the most charming I have ever seen. There are a few minor scratches on the back cover.

The four pop-up scenes are activated by lifting a ribbon and include: The Menagerie; In the Circus; Punch and Judy which also has a wheel to spin to reveal different characters in a play, and In the Country in summer.

1. Die Menagerie [The menagerie] --
2. Im Circus [At the circus] --
3. Kasperltheater [Puppet show] --
4. Vor dem Thore [In The Country].

(1) Die Menagerie - (The Menagerie). Here the fascination of exotic things - people, animals, places and activities is shown in this popular theme. In the background behind the thin bars of a cage is a fantasy jungle including a pyramid in front of which lions leap up while in as a boy prepares the raw meat to feed them. The middle pop-up continues the exotic scene as a parrot flutters on a swing a large black man in fanciful dress lifts a large snake which is wrapped around his body. (Note: This figure was used in later publications, including the cover of the Showman's Series, Vol. II - The Mammoth Menagerie, The International News Co., and N.Y.)

At the left a group stands with varied interest. The front layer shows a man and young boy and two pelicans. All parts original, clean, colorful and complete. The text page has a mended tear with some staining and smudges but the lettering is clear.

(2) Im Circus (In the Circus) . An extraordinary five layer pop-up shows an exciting circus scene. In the background is a full house of spectators while in the center ring a woman guides the performance of a show horse.The back layer pop-up is also exotic in the setting of tall sculptural figures lifting large chandeliers and holding a long tightrope on which a young girl is balancing. The small figure of the girl is the only facsimile in the scene as she walks on the thin original rope. The next lifting scene is a fantasy theatrical surrounding which a man directs as a clown assists a young girl performing standing on a prancing horse. The next popup is a single clown figure. The foremost pop-up is of a group including children, women and men all in very fancy clothing sitting in very plush chairs, watching the complex activities rising in front to them. All are clean and several of the figures have very small, neat supports attached to backs.The text page is in fair condition showing some wrinkles and bottom edge wear.

(3) Das Kasperltheater (Punch and Judy puppet show). A very important aspect of life at the time, these characters appear in many movable and pop-up books. This particular pop-up is especially interesting in this book as it has a very different method of involvement by the reader. There is an 8" circle under a triangular board shape which is lifted by a ribbon (which has been replaced) and put behind the lifted pop-up section to support it standing.The standing scene includes 3 layers of pop-ups but the main interest is in the background where brightly colored, fancy curtains open revealing a stage on which six well-know characters can appear including first Punch to the last figure of Diable (the Devil). The figures are moved across the stage by turning a wheel on the right edge of the page. In unexpected good condition, as this would obviously be a favorite movement to use, the good working wheel shows a couple of pasted on repairs on the back and replacement of the metal rivet. In the back pop-up a small section on the back of one of the girls is replaced by a hardly noticeable facsimile.The girls watch the stage as a woman organ grinder plays and a gesturing clown tells the story. The middle pop-up shows a man apparently paying admission for him and two children as he drops coins into a plateheld by another man. The foremost pop-up depicts a woman with a small group of children watching while a man and a large dog stand at the left seemingly uninterested in the play. There is a tiny tear where the dog nudges the man. The fragile paper has been reinforced behind this man and the clown The text has a long tear repaired that does not affect the words.Note: For special interest in Punch and Judy see also The Great Punch Theatre, Le Grand Guignol and Polichinelle.

(4) Vor dem Thore (In the Country) - lifts into five multi-layered very charming scenes. In the background setting a girl carries a child on her back followed by a puppy. Behind them is a fanciful building with a tower. The back pop-up includes children at many playful activities playing pins, pulling a doll cart, loop wheel, ball and tennis games. The next pop-up includes a continued complex of activities from pole climbing to swings including the other tennis player. Many children and a man watch the boy climbing the pole apparently in a game to get some of the toys on the ring atop the pole. All are surrounded by a leafy green framing of the scene. A closer layer depicts two girls standing behind a banister on which a peacock sits; The large peacock has his tiny head replaced. The girls are watching another pop-up layer in which a graceful swan glides along the water. The only figure in this fourth layer of pop-ups, the swan is a facsimile The foremost fifth layer shows a boy with a dog walking along the water. In the text two small tears have been repasted.

Of special interest:
Franz Bonn (1830-1894), author whose name appears on the title pager was a lawyer and Member of Parliament as well as a very successful German author whose writings included short stories, plays, opera texts and poetry. In this publication from J. F. Schreiber he joins the list of other contemporary well-known children's authors including Isabella Braun (Theaterbilderbuch) and Lothar Meggendorfer.


Product Code: A-34