Louis Wain, genre photographs, but no fairies

identifier 2014096 INFANTS’ MAGAZINE

The Infants’ Magazine Annual for 1904, being a collection of the 12 monthly issues for 1903. Vol. XXXVIII Publisher S.W. Partridge & Co., London. Hardback, colour cover. Size: 177 x 223 mm. 190+ pages, with illustrations on every page, several in colour (black/blue/red).

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Prominent in this annual is the work of Louis Wain, famous cat artist. He contributes the main title page and numerous sketches throughout. More unusually, a photograph of the artist also appears.

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I was also struck by the fact that almost all of the photographs of child studies in this book are credited to Miss K. Grant. It must have been unusual at that time for a woman to have had the facilities, presumably some kind of studio, to produce genre pictures like this. The simple portraits remind me of some of the sentimental child studies by photographer and magic lantern slide publisher Owen Graystone Bird, from the same era.

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The narrative scenes (see below), some with painted backdrops, are reminiscent of the Life Model magic lantern slides popular at that time, though cropped much tighter.

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The subjects of the painted backdrops, representing a poor person’s kitchen, for instance, are different from those in a typical Victorian / Edwardian portrait studio. I wonder whether anyone has researched Miss Grant? Without a complete first name, or location, that would be difficult.

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With the adoption of halftone photographic images in periodicals becoming much more widespread about this time, these photographs are evidently a challenge to the more traditional artworks of the same subjects. This can be clearly seen here with the similarities between Grandma’s Valentine (photo) and the following page Granny’s Recovery (painting); and Spring Flowers (drawing), and the opposite page A Secret (photo).

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Another point of interest is the lack of fairies (gnomes, elves, whatever). With the exception of The Fairies’ Postmen, I can’t find any.

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The book is stuffed with pictures (photos, drawings) and stories of dolls on what seems like every other page, but the fairies that would soon become so ubiquitous in children’s books haven’t yet arrived – here, anyway. Perhaps this was due to the shadow of publisher Samuel William Partridge (1810-1903) – by then retired, and who died the year these magazines were printed – who was a devout evangelical Christian and probably couldn’t be doing with fairies. Maybe it would take the imminent appearance of Tinkerbell to ensure frequent appearances of the fairy folk in periodicals and annuals.

The Infants’ Magazine is not a very scarce title, but finding particular issues – especially in good condition – can be difficult. Apparently people used to give these books to young children to play with. (Note: The BL has it as The Infant’s Magazine.)

Condition: Generally good, as shown. Pages tanned, as expected. The binding is very loose, but still holding everything together.

Price: £32.00 plus postage. Enquiries: s-herbert@easynet.co.uk

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Flying, 1902

Identifier: 1902 FLYING (Periodical) 2014028

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Flying. The Record of Aerial Navigation. No.4. Quarterly. September 1902. Illiffe and Sons Ltd, London and Coventry. Pages 148-192. Size: 182 x 245mm.

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This issue of Flying dates from the year before the Wright Brothers’ first powered flight. Of course, balloonists had been drifting through the skies for more than a century, and the new technique of gliding was starting to become practical. However, it seems that maintaining a journal on the subject of human flight was difficult. There had already been failures – the front cover of this issue of Flying states: “ … with which are incorporated The Flyer, The Flying Machine, The Aerostat, The Aeronaut.” The quarterly Flying wasn’t cheap at half-a-crown, and it ceased publishing the following year after just six issues and a total of 288 pages.

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A wide mix of reports, speculations, and history – from the fanciful ‘The bicycle as an accessory to true flight’, to the second of three parts of the seminal report given to the Western Society of Engineers by Wilbur Wright. This journal is an example of that curious mixture of genuine professional technical progress, and the amateur optimistic fantasy which would largely disappear in mainstream aviation journals as powered heavier-than-air flight became widespread.

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Flying isn’t in the British Library but the National Library of Scotland, and both Oxford and Cambridge Universities, have it – as do half a dozen other libraries found by WorldCat, all but one of which are in the USA. There don’t seem to be any copies of any issue for sale online. So it’s very scarce.

Condition: The pages have been re-sewn onto new guards, and are still bright but fragile in places. Some water stains, finger marks, and folded page corners. The fore-edge is ragged. Damage to the first three (blank) pages, several page corners, and the cover has been repaired with acid-free Japanese tissue. Writing in ink on front cover. The price reflects the fragile nature of this copy.

Price: £35.00 plus postage. s-herbert@easynet.co.uk

Scroll down for more pictures and further items.

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Television: “…and it worrrks!”

identifier: 2014063 TELEVISION 1928 [SOLD]

One of the perks of being Head of Technical Services at the Museum of the Moving Image in London was that I got to talk with many interesting members of the public. One day, in the mid 1990s, I met a lady and her teenage son. She greeted me in a broad Scottish accent, introducing me proudly to the youth: “This is James. He’s made a Baird 30-line television, and it worrrks!” James (real name forgotten) was 18 or 19. I congratulated him, but was slightly sceptical, as I knew what was involved in such a project. “Where did you find all the information?” I asked. “Encyclopaedia Britannica,” he replied. My scepticism deepened. “You made a 30-line television receiver from information you’d read in the Encyclopaedia…” The lady broke in. “Well he can’t read, so I read it to him.” Evidently reacting to my bewildered expression, she explained, “He’s dyslexic.” I nodded, and started firing questions at James. “What did you do for a neon lamp?” “Dismantled two electric mains-tester screwdrivers, used the lamps together…..” Sounded plausible. And the big question, “Where was the 30-line signal coming from?” “The local electronics club got some members to build a line-dropper / frame frequency converter for me, so that I could use 625-line signals.” All the right answers. So it was true. He told me what happened if you slowed down the ‘scanning’ disc by pressing on the edge – the image doubled – and of the problems he’d had and how he’d overcome them. I was almost speechless. I lent them my copy of The Television Book (1936) and wished them luck in their future endeavours. “You must be the world’s foremost technical expert on 30-line television construction,” I suggested to James. “Yes,” his mother replied, “and I’m the second.” They returned the book some months later, with a note that James was expecting to start college soon. I bet that kept his mother busy for a few years. Their fellow countryman John Logie Baird would have been so proud of them both.

Which brings us to:

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Television. A Monthly Magazine. Vol. 1, No.1, 1928. The World’s First Television Journal. The Official Organ of the Television Society.

Editor: A. Dinsdale. (London, The Television Press), 1928. 8vo. Original illustrated coloured paper cover depicting a distinguished couple watching the opera being received on their television set, with the actual opera shown in the background. Profusely illustrated throughout. 52 pages + one loose leaf: “Supplement to Television, No. 1 – March, 1928” (comprising the article “Seeing Across the Atlantic!”).

“Of all scientific subjects, perhaps the one which is creating the most interest in the public mind at the present time is television. It is, however a subject upon which almost no literature or authentic information has been available, either to the interested amateur or to the scientist.

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It is the object of this, the first journal of its kind in the world, to fill this want, and to supply an organ the sole object of which will be to keep interested members of the public supplied with up-to-date and authentic information upon this new branch of science, which bids fair in time to rival wireless broadcasting in importance and popularity.” (from the Editorial by Dinsdale).

This magazine existed in both the UK and USA, in two slightly different versions. This is the first issue – worldwide – and was published in the UK in March 1928. The American version was issued in November 1928. The covers of both versions are illustrated here:

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Television, Vol. 1, No.1, March, 1928, London, 1928. The first issue of the world’s first television journal, the official organ of the Television Society. 52 pages; illustrated throughout (including a full page by W. Heath Robinson); original pictorial wrappers. Includes the rare single-sheet supplement with the article “Seeing Across the Atlantic!” Articles include ‘Noctovision: Seeing in Total Darkness by Television,’ by Roland F. Tiltman; ‘Light-Sensitive Cells,’ by K. M. Dowberg; ‘Television on the Continent,’ by M. Dumont; ‘How to Make a Simple Televisor,’ by the technical staff; ‘Commercial Television: When May We Expect it?’ by the editor, Dinsdale; and, ‘Glimpses into the Future: Television in Warfare,’ by R. Heath Bradley, and others.

Perhaps no other published item in the history of television more successfully evokes the very beginnings of the medium’s introduction to the public.

Condition: Very good. Some lower corners have a crease in the margin, and dusty in that area. Pages are slightly tanned, but firm and supple. Staples just starting to show rust. Now in an acid-free paper wallet inside cloth-covered boards, ready for your bookshelf.

Scarce, and almost impossible to find in this condition. There’s a copy on ABE as I write, at £1,000 plus, and another at just £360. The example here is in better condition than the last mentioned.

Price: [SOLD].         s-herbert@easynet.co.uk

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Back of Supplement sheet

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The Casket – instructive (but ‘orrible) tales

identifier: 2014085 THE CASKET

The Casket – consisting of instructive tales, original essays, delineations of character, facetiae, poetry, gems of modern literature &c. &c. &c.
With illustrations. William Strange, London, 1830 .

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No.186, 7th August 1830, to No.222, 9th April 1831. (Lacking 212, and 206/207 is a double number); then nos. 224 – 244 (238/239 is a double number). Although there is no number 223, the dates for 222 and 224 are only a week apart, so most likely there was a numbering error. Each issue 8 pages with engraved panel on front page, and occasional extra engravings. Murderous attacks, executions, ghosts and similar attractions for a popular readership appear on every front page. Size: 130 x 217mm.

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Bound volumes and disbound issues of periodicals from this period, such as The Mirror of Literature, Amusement and Instruction, and The Penny Magazine, turn up all the time. Some of the lesser known periodicals are quite elusive, as is the case with The Casket. A rare title anywhere. WorldCat finds only copies in the BL, and The New Casket (1831-1833).

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Condition: Acceptable-Good. Most pages good, or better. Some brown spots on several pages, the most intrusive (Death of the French King, and The Wizard of Westminster) are shown here. Watermarks to some margins, general slight age browning to some pages. Title page re-attached. An old paper label has been neatly stuck over part of the title page, deliberately obscuring the incorrect text “Volume IV”. Acquired without boards, now with new boards in burgundy book cloth, paper label on spine with manuscript title.

Price: £60.00 plus postage. s-herbert@easynet.co.uk

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and many more!