London: H. Grevel & Co.,, 1890. Item #04078
A Very Scarce Meggendorfer Movable
[MOVABLE BOOK]. MEGGENDORFER, Lothar. Artistic Pussy and Her Studio. Moving Pictures with Other Tales. A Moveable Toybook from Lothar Meggendorfer. London: H. Grevel & Co., .
Folio (11 7/8 x 8 3/4 inches; 302 x 222 mm.). Sixteen unnumbered pages. Six with color lithographed moveable plates and eight with black & white drawings. The movable plates are bright and clean and all in perfect working order. Three of them have very small and neatly repaired tears just on the lower margins by the pull-tabs. Otherwise a near fine example of this very rare Meggendorfer movable. With the engraved bookplate of Joan Feisenberger on the front paste-down.
Publisher's quarter red cloth over glazed boards, front cover with color pictorial design and title. Inner hinges expertly and almost invisibly repaired, some light rubbing to corners of boards, otherwise near fine.
A remarkable survival of a very scarce Meggendorfer title.
There are eight movables with a story text each of which includes sepia drawings.
The six movables are:
1. A bulldog, seated in an armchair, having his portrait painted by Mrs. Puss
2. A 'clever' monkey sitting in a big armchair and trying to play with a crying baby in her lap
3. A cat with palette in arm painting a portrait of a poodle
4. A wily fox running away with two geese under his arms
5. A mother hen gently rocks two of her baby chicks in a cradle while the four other chicks peck around.
6. Mr. and Mrs. Hare hiding in a cabbage patch from a hound
OCLC locates just one copy of the London imprint in libraries and institutions worldwide: Library of Congress (DC). and three copies of the American imprint by Thompson & Thomas, Chicago: Smithsonian Institution, (DC); Boston University (MA); Pennsylvania University (PA).
“There is little doubt that the most elaborate and ingenious movables ever produced were those of the German Lothar Meggendorfer (1847-1925) made during the 1880s and 1890s…the mechanisms and operations of Meggendorfer’s books—not to mention the originality of his figures—are far superior to any others published before or since.…'They were marvels of ingenuity…Usually several movements took place at the same time on the same page' (Eric Quayle)…The devices that operated the various figures in Meggendorfer’s books consisted of a series of inter-connecting cardboard levers sandwiched between the coloured illustration on the front of the oblong leaf and the dummy pasted behind it. The animated limbs and heads were cut-out models on the front of the picture, and moving the tab set the whole scene in motion…Needless to say, such was the delicacy of Meggendorfer's machinery that if a child pulled too hard the whole thing could be ruined beyond repair” (Haining, Movable Books, pp. 65-73).
Joan Feisenberger (née) Greendall (d. 1992) was the wife of the great bibliophile and rare book expert of Sotheby's fame, Hellmut Albert Feisenberger (1909-1999) - "Feisy" to all who knew him. He was responsible for the preparation of the the exhibition "Printing and the Mind of Man" at Earls Court in 1963. As a member of the historical sub-committee whose task was to select some 500 books that had most influenced human thought and action over 500 years, he undertook all the scientific books, ranging from the great medieval encyclopaedia of St. Isidore of Seville to Fermi and Pontecorvo's patent for controlling nuclear fission. In all, he helped to choose and then catalogued over 120 books, more than any other contributor.