Wednesday 11 June 2014

SOLD A History of the Horn Book * £20 €35 $75 Including Shipping (New Zealand or Australia $80)

This book packs quite a punch - it is almost 500 pages in length and just about every page brims with illustrations. It is also the reason for half the costs being shipping costs.
It is a 1979 reprint of a book originally published in 1897. And every page is a total delight.
Above left you can see the delightful Arts and Crafts illustrations which run throughout the book and which took top prize in a competition to illustrate horn books run by The Studio Magazine. If few horn books survive, their other name - Paddle - gives a few hints why. They were used to paddle recalcitrant children as you can see above right. The children themselves also used them as the paddle for the game of Shuttlecock - and presumably for lots of other rough games too. And when the children grew up, then mother found a use for them - to paddle her washing!
Their origin is very early - and at a time when printing was costly, these were the only approximation to text books a children would have.
It is not just horn books - but the whole teaching of the alphabet that is documented here - here is the little tune for the singing of the alphabet - including the cross of the well-known criss-cross row fame.
And goodness me - here is a washing tally for the early 1600s - if not before - so that the number of Bandes, Cuffes, Handkerchers, Capps, Shirtes, Bootehose, Topps, Socks, Sheetes, Pillowberes, Table-clothes, Napkins and Towells could be checked in and out at laundry time
And, of course, there are illustrations of ancient horn books themselves.
It is amazing to see that some had pictorial aides also - more child-friendly than one would have expected.
There is even a section devoted to samplers!

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