Mustard and Gramophones

identifier: 2014050 COLMAN’S RHYMES

colmans1

Rhymes & Tunes For Little Folks. J. & J. Colman, [England] c.1902. Booklet, 20 pages including cover. 109 x 138mm.

A small advertising booklet featuring illustrated nursery rhymes, including one showing a family listening to a gramophone. This important illustration has been superbly researched in Antique Phonograph News. I have reproduced below a major part of the article; the full piece, with references, is online here and is well worth reading in full.

Early Nod to Nipper
by Betty Minaker Pratt and Bill Pratt

J. & J.Colman Ltd, in business since 1814, was well aware of the enormous dividends to be reaped from investment in advertising their yellow tins of mustard powder. One of their long term promotional items was a series of booklets that was given away free to children every Christmas from the 1880s into the 1950s. “Children treasured these booklets. For many they were the first and only books they ever owned.”

Rhymes and Tunes For Little Folks is a 20-page booklet, 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches, with 16 nursery rhymes, musical scores with lyrics, and 12 colour illustrations. The first page inside the front cover shows “J. & J. Colman’s Xmas Greetings to Their Young Friends All Over the World”.

colmans2

Loosely adapted from Francis Barraud’s painting, it depicts the familiar subject of the little terrier, Nipper, listening intently to the recorded message emanating from a Berliner “Trademark” Gramophone. The talking machine may not be an exact rendering of the Type B Berliner, but the artist is clearly familiar with the model showing a brass horn, side brake, and external spring box mounted on the back, with a crank handle on top. In this rendition Nipper, with two black-tipped ears, is placed prominently in the foreground, but he is not the focus of attention. The boy in the paper party hat with a trumpet is centre stage, in his Little Lord Fauntleroy suit. Mothers had imposed this fashion on boys since 1886 when Frances Hodgson Burnett published her popular children’s novel.

colmans3

This is an early use of the Nipper theme. Page 3 of the booklet, “Sing a Song of Six Pence”, showing the king and queen, confronted with a hopelessly underbaked blackbird pie, conveniently dates the illustration with the depiction of a sixpence coin of 1902.

… So, the endearing painting of “His Master’s Voice”, soon to become famous all over the world – some say the most recognizable trademark ever – was an apt and topical subject for the Colman’s group of artists and their series of seasonal nursery books for little folks.’

Antique Phonograph News
Canadian Antique Phonograph Society. Nov-Dec 2006

Only one copy of Rhymes & Tunes For Little Folks is shown in WorldCat.

Condition: Generally good. There is some rust staining in center margin of some pages (staples now removed). Minor marks to cover. Colours bright, pages firm and supple.

Price: £24.00 plus postage. s-herbert@easynet.co.uk

scroll_0

colmans4

colmans5

colmans6

colmans7Don’t do it!

colmans8

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *