The History of Little Fanny, Exemplified in a Series of Figures

PAPER DOLL BOOK - [GIRDLESTONE, Amelia Troward] (author). The History of Little Fanny, Exemplified in a Series of Figures.

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PAPER DOLL BOOK - [GIRDLESTONE, Amelia Troward] (author). The History of Little Fanny, Exemplified in a Series of Figures. London: Printed By D.N. Shury, Berwick Street, Soho for S. And J. Fuller, Temple of Fancy, Rathbone Place. 1810.

Small square 8vo. (128 x 103mm).; publisher's drab card wrappers printed in black to both covers, stitched; pp. [iii], 4-15; a very good copy with overall dust-soiling and rubbing, stitches a little slack, small chip to lower inner corner of both covers, with a faded early name and date in calligraphic hand to top margin of upper cover and one brown mark (18mm across) to the same; internally unusually clean with only a couple of minor spots; together with the accompanying prettily engraved and handcoloured doll and accompaniments composing the complete suite of 7 costumes, 1 interchangeable doll head, as required, and 3 headpieces (lacking only one small bonnet); all figures in wonderfully crisp and attractive condition; a marvellous survival, without the frequently absent, and often ill-used, card slipcase; scarce indeed in first edition.
First edition, with the advertisement for A New Essay on Flower Painting to lower cover. The authorship was attributed by the late Frank Algar to Amelia Troward who married Samuel Rainbow Girdlestone.
The concept of paper doll books in Europe started in the 1790s with the manufacture of figures connected by threads whose limbs could be articulated and which were sold with accompanying outfits. In the early nineteenth century the progressive novelty firm S & J Fuller launched a series of handcoloured paper doll suites with accompanying books from their emporium, The Temple of Fancy. This was a shop which sold artists' supplies, instruction books on drawing and painting, and printed toys. These doll books were expensive productions which were aimed at the upper classes, selling for between five and eight shillings. Each volume told a story in verse, in several separate vignettes, about an individual character, and was sold with an accompanying die-cut doll, with handcoloured costumes. The intention was for the child to dress the doll appropriately as he or she read through the work. The History of Little Fanny was the first of Fullers' doll books which were issued between 1810 and 1816. As was characteristic of the day, stories conveyed a moral lesson. In Little Fanny the eponymous character is portrayed as an idle child who, when she refuses to accompany her mother to the park, instead absconding with their maid, is robbed of her clothes, appearing next as a beggar girl in rags. She subsequently works her way out of poverty, through a variety of guises, until she is reunited with her mother having learned her lesson. Her final iteration is as a dutiful child with a book in her hand.

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