Munich: Verlag von J.F. Schreiber, 1888. Item #04961
A Rare and Early Meggendorfer Movable
MOVABLE BOOK. MEGGENDORFER, Lothar. Schau mich an! [Look at me!]. Ein Ziehbilderbuch von Lothar Meggendorfer. Esslingen - Stuttgart, .
First German edition. Oblong quarto (10 x 13 1/2 inches; 254 x 343 mm.).  pp. (including foreword and advertisements at end). Eight colored lithograph plates with movable parts (included in pagination), each with a tab to set the scene in motion. The eight moveables are all original, completely functional and in excellent condition. The 'pull' tabs have all been replaced. There are some expertly repaired short closed tears where the tabs come through the pages and a few mainly marginal light stains.
Publisher's gray boards with color pictorial label on front pane, red cloth backstrip, Light wear to board edges and corners. A wonderful example of this very rare and early title. Housed in a fleece-lined, half black morocco clamshell case, spine with five raised bands, lettered in gilt in compartments. An excellent example of a rare Meggendorfer title…
In over fifty years of specializing in Children's Books including Movables I have never seen this title before (DJB).
The movable plates:
1. St. Niklas kommt! (St. Nicholas is coming)
2. Das Duett (The Duet)
3. Die Zimmerleute (The Carpenters)
4. Der horrische Esel (The obstinate donkey)
5. In der kinderstube (In the nursery)
6. Beim Friseur (At the Hairdresser)
7. Hausmusik (House music)
8. Der gefoppte Ami (The teased friend)
The title of Meggendorfer's Schau mich an! (Look at me!) plays on the potentially uncanny relationship between actual life and the life-like mechanisms between the book's covers. It would appear that the English edition of Look at me! did not appear until three years later in 1891.
“Meggendorfer’s reputation today is based almost solely on his ingenious mechanical picture-books for children. These he began to design during the late 1880s, and many of these books went into multiple German editions besides translations into English, French, Italian, Spanish, Bohemian, Hungarian, and Russian. Deservedly, he is considered the creator and chief innovator of moveable toy books, and his printed works are eagerly sought after by collectors of historical children’s literature. He produced books with moveable figures, transformation pictures segmented into three parts and thus interchangeable, books with pop-up designs, rotating wheels as well as four-panel slat pictures which change the illustrations through movement, and simply funny picture books for children that would certainly make them laugh and generally contributed to some educational benefit” (Justin G. Schiller’s Introduction to The Publishing Archive of Lothar Meggendorfer).
“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. 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” (Haining, Movable Books, pp. 65-73).