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 Some interesting selections for you to browse:

 Books with Fairies 


Alice in Wonderland Books


  Louis Wain illustrations [cats!]

   Chromolithograph illustrations


 Books featuring dogs

 Ernest Nister books


Collecting Ernest Nister books....

Ernest Nister was established as a publishing house in Nurnberg, Germany in 1877. Specialising in children's books, they have been known since that time for the quality and skill of their illustrations and their chromolithographic processes used to reproduce the art work. Chromolithography requires great skill and involves the engraving of stones, at least one for each colour to be used. Some of the rich colour found in chromolithographs such as those produced by Nister could require twenty stones to obtain eight to ten different colours. 

During its 50 years in business, Nister published in excess of 2000 children's books in English as well as over 120 movable books. A publishing presence was established in London and the North American market was accessed via a deal with E. P. Dutton and Co. of New York. Many well known and competent authors and illustrators were engaged by Nister, such as Clifton Bingham, Beatrice Hardy, F. E. Weatherly, Louis Wain, Lizzie Lawson and Ellen [Eddie] Andrews. Whilst the text and illustrations primarily came from British authors and illustrators, the books were printed in Bavaria and the clarity and brightness of the German printing process can not be mistaken.

A collection of books centred on Nister could be a general selection of Ernest Nister books or a specific grouping from within Nister could be chosen, such as:

 Movable books. Nister produced many innovative movable books using such techniques as vertical and horizontal slats, revolving discs and flaps. The study of the mechanism types themselves makes the basis for an interesting collection.  The illustrations on the right come from 'Here and There: A Book of Transformation Pictures'. This book uses horizontal slats [just visible in the picture on the left].The picture changes from one to another image as a tab at the bottom of the page is pulled to sequence between the two by a system of slats.     


 Pop-up books. Nister's pop-ups are exquisite and represent the benchmark for pop-up books at the turn of the 20th century. The illustration is reproduced using chromolithography, a technique that was perfected 'The Land of Long Ago, a visit to Fairy Land with Humpty Dumpty' is a magnificant example of the type with six large pop-up tableaux created in chromolithography.    

 Nister published several series of books, such as Calendar books, holiday annuals, birthday books and so on. The E.N. Illustrated Standard and Art Gift Books are a particularly beautiful and well illustrated series. There are 24 titles that could be collected, with many classics such as Gulliver's Travels, Robinson Crusoe and Andersen's Fairy Tales. They are special due to the quality of the bindings, featuring bevelled edge boards and gilt / coloured titling and gilt edges, they are printed on a good quality art paper and they generally contain six chromolithograph plates of exceptional quality.
The chromolithograph plate to the immediate right is by Arthur A. Dixon and comes from 'Child Characters from Dickens' and shows Master Harry Walmers and his sweetheart Norah, who featured in The Holly Tree Inn which was one of Dickens's Christmas Stories. The plate on the far right is from Gulliver's Travels and is by A. E. Jackson.

I have used Julia and Frederick Hunt's excellent reference book, 'Peeps into Nisterland', as a source for much of my information on Nister books.

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