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Rare 19th Century Children's Drawing Book

Slate Pencil Drawings for the Self Instruction of Children.

London: R. Canton, n.d. [ca. 1850]. Duodecimo (16.7 x 10.5 cm). Original glazed pictorial wrapper, front wrapper printed in gold, green, and black and with embossed design; 12 leaves printed on one side only. Some light handling wear and marginal tears along edges, some bumping along spine, rubbing and scuffing to covers, light wear to extremities, prior repair to spine, overall good condition.

A sweet little 19th century instructional volume aimed at children. The 12 leaves are lithographed and printed as mostly black backgrounds highlighted with white drawings on them, forming twelve 2-page spreads mimicking a school blackboard. The illustrations range from simple geometric shapes to game boards, birdcages, animals, houses and other building, furniture, fruit, toys, and other items. The illustration to the cover depicts three children sitting quietly, teaching themselves how to draw.

At the time of this volume's publication, Robert William Canton (1821-1893) described himself as a lithographic printer and publisher who later moved into the printing and publishing of valentines, bookmarks, conversation cards, and other similar items. In an advertisement from the time, Canton "calls the attention of the Trade to the facilities he possesses for executing first-class Colour Printing, and informs them that he is at all times ready to make Sketches, emblazon Testimonials to Clergymen, Public Servants, and others, on the shortest possible notice. Work of this description can also be executed for working at the Establishments of his Customers with their own imprints; and is a class of work to which he directs his particular attention, and in which he has had a most extensive patronage for a series of years." (The Bookseller, 1862).

There is not much additional information on Canton's business or his publications, although he was a participant in the 1862 International Exhibition and continue to print advertisements for his business into the 1880s.

A very scarce and delightful volume; as of March 2023, OCLC locates only two holdings in North American libraries and two in Australia.

Book ID: 52769

Price: $1,250.00