Victorian-Era Shape Books

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Good Friends

Publisher: E.P. Dutton & Co., New York
© Ernest Nister, 1895

German publisher and printer Ernest Nister (1842-1909) headed a successful color printing business that specialized in vibrant children’s toy and movable books. Though centered in Nuremburg, Nister produced books for an English audience through his London headquarters and for an American audience through the publisher E.P. Dutton. This book, published by Dutton, was printed in Bavaria.

Nister’s publications were noted for the superior illustrations and printing; his innovative movable books featured not only dissolving pictures with both horizontal and vertical slits but also a mechanism that would reveal pictures in a circular form creating a kaleidoscope effect.

Good Friends consists of stories and poems about children and their pets, primarily dogs. One of the verses, “If,” is credited to Hope Myrtoun. Though this volume is in poor condition, the detail and beauty of the illustrations is still apparent. Several of the illustrations bear Nister’s name, though this is not a definitive indication that Nister was the artist.┬áNister was known for dropping the artist’s signature and adding his own monogram to images in his imprint. Ernest Nister also published a movable book under the same title.