Cobwebs to Catch Flies: Illustrated Books For the Nursery and Schoolroom, 1700-1900 - Joyce Irene WhalleyLondon: Elek Books, 1974, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Very Good — in Good Dust Wrapper. Unlaminated dust wrapper a little edgeworn and faded with slight fraying to the top edge. Price Clipped. Top edge of the text block tanned. Text complete, clean and tight.
Illustrated by way of: Colour Plates; Black & White Plates;
From the cover: “Before education was universally available, it was thought proper for young children to be taught at home, in the nursery or schoolroom. From the early years of the 18th century, more and more picture books for this purpose were published on both sides of the Atlantic, often crossing the ocean to appear with little or no revision in an English or American edition. They were designed to teach a child, outside the school classroom, not only reading, writing and arithmetic but the correct interpretation of the scriptures, of history, the natural world and life in other lands.
Most texts were written with a high moral and didactic purpose, but to us the books, adorned with charming illustrations to match the verses and instructions underneath, provide a fascinating glimpse of the changing fashions and attitudes of society and the part children were expected to play in it. The pictures ranged from simple anonymous wood cuts and engravings, often hand-coloured, to signed work by such outstanding book illustrators as Thomas Bewick, George Cruikshank and, later, Walter Crane and Kate Greenaway. Over 150 of these illustrations are reproduced, . Often with extracts from the books themselves, in this showcase of educational children’s literature, here arranged according to subject — the alphabet, grammar, geography and so on. Many of the titles alone make enchanting reading: Marmaduke Multiples Merry Method of Making Minor Mathematicians; Punctuation Personified by Mr Stops; and the original Cobwebs to Catch Flies by Lady Fenn. Others, like Alice in Wonderland and Struwwelpeter, take their place as internationally recognized classics. An extensive bibliography and indexes of publishers and titles complete this revealing study, which is a treasure trove for the social and educational historian and a delightful recreation of a past world of childhood.”