Two watercolour books kept by an English schoolboy, Henry Moore (born 1831), between the ages of fourteen and seventeen.more...
They are exceptional not for orthodox artistic merit, though they are fine (and sometimes compelling) examples of British naive art, but for their depiction of some of the minutiae of provincial domestic life. Henry was evidently an observant adolescent, who, in addition to making painstaking portraits of his family and views of his local surroundings, recorded such charming details as the pattern on the bedroom carpet at home, a flycatcher’s nest tucked into an iron gate-hinge and the elaborate icing on a traditional English ‘Twelfth Cake’.
A child of the English Midlands, Henry Moore was son of a canal agent at Stone in Staffordshire, a small town on the Trent and Mersey Canal, just South of Stoke on Trent and the Potteries. Many of the best images in his notebooks are of details of the Stone Navigation Office, suggesting the family lived on site, and he includes a fine study of the red brick and slate roofs of the rear of the office, and views of the cart shed, the cow house, the flower garden gate, the strong room, the check office, canal bridges, factory chimneys and a nearby windmill. There are also full- and double-page images of the town and its neighbouring buildings, among which the imposing red brick workhouse is outstanding. He also takes a boy’s interest in boats and trains, with two typical canal boats and a railway engine.
He makes portraits of his younger siblings, girls and boys in contemporary dress and takes pleasure in recording possessions at home: ‘mama’s opal bottle’, ‘mama’s bread-pan’, ‘mama’s great [Staffordshire] jug’, a piano, a Christmas plum pudding, candlesticks, brushes, a mother-of-pearl bookmark and several domestic fabric patterns. There are also records of trips further afield: with boats on the Severn and Mersey, the organ at Worcester, while an intriguing sequence shows domestic details of a particular house in Calthorpe Street, [Bloomsbury, London], with a parlour and bed, carefully depicted.
He was sent to boarding school at Bromsgrove, another canal town some 60 miles away in neighbouring Worcestershire, where he attended the Free School, then undergoing a tercentenary rejuvenation under pioneering schoolmaster John Day Collis (see Oxford DNB). Here, Moore made views of the new school buildings and of the church from the school playground. According to the school records he seems to have been a model student, winning a prize every year and earning a scholarship to Oxford, where he went up to Worcester College in 1849. He took both a BA and MA, became a fellow in the course of 15 years spent at Oxford. He apparently then became a cleric in London.
Moore also includes numerous imaginative scenes, usually rather more crudely drawn than those from life: many are of soldiers in uniform and several are of circus performers. He clearly had access to books too, and there are copies of scenes from Francis Edward Paget’s Hope of the Katzekopfs; Or, the Sorrows of Selfishness. A Fairy Tale (1846), Dickens’s Martin Chuzzlewit (1843), Moule’s English Counties (1837), Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and Hamlet, Shaw’s Travels (1746 and several later editions) and the ‘Panorama of the Battle of Sabraon’ (exhibited 1846, and perhaps seen either in the flesh or via published engravings). .see full details
A typical Victorian handwriting copybook, devoting a page to each letter of the alphabet, with a single sentence, phrase of word repeated over several lines, the text of varying size.more...
‘All thy commandments are righteousness’; ‘Be ye angry and sin not’; ‘Fulminate’; ‘Knowledge is Power’, ‘Mathematician’; ‘Obrometer’, ‘Vice is attended with sorrow’; ‘X begins no word in the English language’. The sequence is broken in two places, with 2 pages of elementary mathematical exercises, and the last page is signed ‘William Blundell June 29th 1868 in Sussex’..see full details
A very rare French translation of Lancaster’s The British System of Education (1810).more...
In French, it is apparently preceded only by Système anglais dinstruction (1815) a translation by the duc de La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt, also rare. Lancaster’s ‘monitorial system’, in which huge groups of 100 pupils were educated in factory-inspired classes was widely adopted in Britain and the United State; with Dickens its most effective detractor (via the Coketown schoolrooms of Hard Times). The plates of this Brussels edition reproduce those of the English editions, with plans of the schoolroom workstations and plate illustrating group reading from a board (saving the purchase of books).
Born in London in 1778 the Quaker Joseph Lancaster founded several schools there, before introducing the system to North and South America. He died in New York in 1838 afer being run over by a carriage..see full details
First edition, rare, of this collection of children’s songs.more...
Ludovica Brentano, later baroness Desbordes (1787-1854), affectionately known as Lulu, was grand daughter of Sophie von La Roche (the first widely known German female novelist) and she became patron of the Grimm brothers; contributing two tales to their Kinder- und Hausmärchen..see full details
First published in 1751, The Tutor’s Assistant became one of the best-selling mathematical books for over a century.more...
‘An incomplete listing comprises 276 editions, the last in 1885... The York editions, starting in 1797, were corrected by Thomas Crosby of that city’ (Wallis in Oxford DNB).’ Crosby also published a popular Key to the book, which itself ran to many editions.
‘This book is by far the most used of all school-books, and deserves to stand high among them’ (De Morgan, Arithmetical Books, 1847, 80, cited by Wallis). .see full details
This immensely popular juvenile novel emphasises thrift and hard work through the character of Simon, a travelling salesman. It was published by La Société pour l’instruction élémentaire following a competition, with a prize of 1000 francs donated by an anonymous benefactor, for a work of no more than 250 pages in which were ‘tracés avec simplicité, précision et sagesse, le principes de religion chrétienne, de morale, de prudence sociale’, for the improvement of everyday town and country people. There were numerous subsequent editions in France, as well as translations into Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch, Greek and even Breton.
A nephew of the Jussieu brothers of botanical fame, Laurent Jussieu became director of police to the French minister for the interior in 1837..see full details