Peepshow Pictures, 1890

This is among our favorite pop up books.  It is a beautiful piece of art and an unexpected time capsule that takes the reader back to the world of 1890.

The book is one that was created and published by Ernest Nister of London.  These books were distributed in the United States by E.P. Dutton & Co.  The book was printed in Bavaria.  Inside the book is this wonderful inscription:

Eddy FelthamFrom his Grandmother
Xmas 1984

Inside the front cover is a little poem:

This is the Peepshow Picture Book
All you’ve to do,
when you want to look
Is open the pages, not too wide
And see what yo can find inside

You’ll say there’s not in all the land
A Picture Peepshow that’s half so grand;
You’ll all exclaim before it’s done
It’s quite as good as a real one!

It’s open always night and day,
As long as you like to, you can stay;
From Mother kind to Baby small
This Peepshow Book is free to all!

But there’s one thing I ought to say,
Everyone must this rule obey;
Turn its pages over with care
Never a finger-mark or tear!

The first scene is an army of toy soldiers at battle, some of whom are fallen.  The poem on the page is by Clifton Bingham.

The second scene is a poem entitles “Blackberry Farm” by a person with the initials, C.B. The scene is beautifully bucolic with the various farm animals being fed by the children and watched over by a sleepy teenager.  Not visible in the video is the fact that the pop ups have two levels that create a sense of three-dimensional layering to the scene.  This is a common attribute of Nister’s pop up books and the way that all four pop ups are built in this particular edition.

The third scene is an outdoor puppet show.  The children in the scene are in various stages of paying attention, or not, to the show.  Visible near the stage is the grumpy owner of the spectacle.

The fourth scene is by far the most interesting.  It is a large family of cats at breakfast.  The parents are bewildered at how to feed the kittens and keep sanity at the breakfast table.

The over-riding sense one gets while handling the book is the beautiful colors and scenes in the die cuts.  This book is 123 years old at the time of this post and the colors are rich and very full.  One can only imagine how vibrant the colors were when this book was presented to “Eddy” at Christmas in 1894.

This book is a cultural treasure and a superb piece of history.  It is a window into the type of publishing that was done for children in the time.  This example is in wonderful condition.  One rarely finds a Nister pop up where all the moveable  paper forms are whole and  functional.

Please enjoy this wonder piece of pop up history!