Pretty Polly: A Novel Panorama Picture Book
Nister and Dutton, London
and New York, 1897
9 1/2 X 7 1/2" -
245 x 200 mm
4 double page 2 tier
condition, clean, tight, all parts complete, original , and no repairs needed.
The covers are in good shape with only light shelf wear and one
small lower front corner bump. The brown spine cloth is also very good. End sheets very good with gift inscription "To Harold with
love from Uncle Ernest, Xmas 1897." The pages show some
expected age coloring and occasional light finger smudges and hardly visible
bits of foxing , basically clean with little signs of wear. The pop-ups (on
different paper as usual) remain bright and colorful. A most desirable book
rarely found in such wonderful condition.
Long considered one
of Nister's favorite books Pretty Polly is an extraordinary example
representative of the persistent themes that characterize his work.
The charm begins with
a lovely golden haired girl in pretty dress feeding her pet parrot (Polly)
while a dog at her feet sits waiting his turn.
The book opens to 26
pages of stories and verse, many drawings and four multilayered wonderful
chromolithographic pop-ups. These
Work by C. Bingham,
Edith Nesbit, F.E. Weatherly (all well-know writers who contributed to numerous
Nister books) and illustrations by several artists. The double spread pop-ups, illustrated by
Helena Maguire and Emily Hardy, include:
1. How Dare You shows
six kittens surrounding a bird cage.
While one laps some cream the other five carefully eye the open door of
a bird cage. Despite their obviously hopeful attention,
the bird is not inside. Instead, a
brightly colored Pretty Polly perches atop the cage safely observing the
situation as if they just dare her to try get down. Not considering the dare, Polly seems smugely
to be in complete control of the
situation. The pop-ups are fine with all
multiple thin bars of the cage in perfect condition.
2. Cinderella's Coach is a spectacular pop-up
likely the most popular one in the book.
Four prancing horses pull an elegant red carriage in which a lovely Cinderella
sits wearing a crown and holding a glass slipper. She is attended by four splendidly attaired
coachmen. Two ride/drive the carriage, one
runs alongside and another on horseback gallops swiftly ahead. Intricately detailed with even small/thin
parts in fine condition, this dramatic pop-up depicts to the fullest
the excitement of the occassion.
3. At the Sea returns to one of Nister's most
distinctive themes - beautiful young children with pets joyfully at play in
ideal settings. Three young girls and
a dog splash in the water while a boy and young girl with a puppy enjoy a boat
ride. An particular interest is
unusual effect is created by
the boat, size and position, appearing to be fast approaching the viewer. You almost
feel the splash or need to jump.
4. Oranges and Lemons is the name of a game
described in the poem by Weatherly and illustrated by Hardy. The last line of the poem,"... the sunny
dreams of my own happy childhood" are portrayed in the sentimental beauty
of this pop-up. Within the depicted background of an
elegant Victorian parlor nine children (all very lovely and handsomely dressed)
are enjoying great fun playing together. No dirty faces,
scuffed shoes or torn pants, no fussing or crying - just smiling children in
especially nice clothing happily playing a lively push and pull game. A puppy who wants to
join the game tugs at one childs dress.
A fluffly cat sits on a fancy
stool, complete with a blue ribbon around the neck, watching
the fun. In total, a very pleasing
situation. Nister has spoken!