The Child's Instructor, by [ALPHABET BOOK.]


The Child's Instructor, or Picture Alphabet. Glasgow, Lumsden & Son, cira 1815.

First Edition. 32mo (102 x 65 mm), pp. [32], first and last page blank, and pasted down onto the pink wrappers, oval woodcut title vignette and 26 oval wood engravings, rectangular woodcut printer’s device on final leaf, some browning in the text, occasional folds, in the original plain pink wrappers, the surface worn with some abrasion of the outer pink covering and a couple of small holes piercing through to the text, the title and final pages, the lower part of the spine just cracking and with a small nick in the centre of the spine, with a contemporary ink note on the front cover ‘Child’s Instructor’.

A charming two-penny chapbook alphabet clearly set out with a single letter to each page. Illustrated with 27 oval wood engravings, those for the letters E, G, J, K and S are copied after Bewick. Each page shows the letters in large print, with single words referring to the illustration, with the words hyphenated to syllables for easy reading and pronunciation, giving also two-letter combinations and a final sentence - also hyphenated - explaining the pictorial reference. Subjects include an African smoking tobacco, a military captain, a drunkard retching, a fiddler, an orange tree, quince, a rainbow, a usurer and the philosopher Zeno.

Osborne Collection II, p. 700; Cotsen Catalogue, 1164; Roscoe & Brimmell, James Lumsden, 7; Tattersfield, Bewick, 2:78.

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