Peeps into Fairlyand, 1896

Peeps into Fairyland

Nister Book # 633
Copyright, 1896
Ernest Nister, London
Printed in Bavaria
E.P. Dutton & Co., N.Y.
11 in. x 14 in.  27.8 cm x 30.8 cm

This beautiful book is a fine example of the pop up books produced by Ernest Nister (1842-1909) at the end of the 19th century.  Nister was a German who succeeded in creating pop up books for a mass audience.

Nister combined beautiful and accessible illustration with a lithographic process to create a new kind of pop up book.  Unlike previous pop up books, Nister employed a team of craftsmen who made the pop up scenes lift into a three dimensional scene as the reader turned the page.

This was a novel concept and it gave Nister the ability to create scenes with physical perspective.  As seen in other examples, some of Nisters scenes had up to four levels of images.

The process to create the books was very high-tech for the time.  Nister closely supervised the creation of the book, often contributing to the illustrations himself.  The printers created large dies that fit around each of the illustrated pieces.  After the thick paper stock was printed using the multi-step lithograph process, each element of the scene was cut using the dies.

The pop up elements were glued into the book after the other pages were printed and the book was bound.  Each pop up is bordered with elaborate die-cut proscenium frames. They are activated by simply turning the page, which pulls the die-cut papers into perspective and reveals the three-dimensional scene.

This particular title has 6 exquisite pop ups elements that include:

The Procession of the Nursery Rhymes
A Visit to the Snow Queens Palace
The Fairies Lake
Jack Running Away fro the Giant
The Queen of the Bird Fairies
The Babes Asleep in the Woods

Although the pop ups in Nister’s books receive attention, the other drawings on the pages are noteworthy and beautifully printed.

The quality of both the materials used and the craftsmanship of the process is evident in this example.  The colors are bright and the boards of the pop ups are still supple.  Nister produced very few large folios such as this one.  As is visible, the condition of the pop-up scenes and the overall book is extraordinary given its age.  Each of the pop ups is fully intact and functional.

The binding of the book is strong with the green cloth spine is not cracked or worn.

This book is a wonderful example of the books that Nister successfully printed in Bavaria and sold in the United States with his publishing partner, E.P. Dutton.