An elegant, low-slung coach drawn by a matched pair of stylish young gentlemen for an afternoon ride through the park? This enormous plate (24 x 29 cm.) comes from Les enfans parisiens: Jeux, exercice et amusements (Paris: Aubert & cie, ca. 1850].
If you have to have fresh air no matter what the weather, this is the sleigh for you. Graf Franz von Pocci designed this sleek, minimal vehicle for an illustration to a poem in his Lustige gesellschaft: Bilderbuch von Fr. Pocci (Munich: Braun & Schneider, 1867).
Something with more power? These simian charioteers were dreamed up by Jacobus Wilhelmus Adrianus Hilverdink for Jan Schnkman’s Het nieuwe apenspel (Amsterdam: G. Theodore Bom, 1862).
There’s always the reliable old bicycle. It’s not fast or flashy, but it can take you where you want to go. Florence Upton drew this image of a little girl polishing up her big brother’s bike for her mother’s Little Hearts (London, Manchester, New York: George Routledge and Sons, Limited, 1897), several years before she scored an enormous hit with the Golliwog series.
All these pictures of vehicles were chosen to illustrate the theme of transportation in the nineteenth-century volumes of the Cotsen catalogue.
The featured illustrations of hard-working Easter bunnies were not taken from a picture book, but from a group of children’s handkerchiefs in the collection. These four, along with forty-eight more examples, were bound into a book (Cotsen 18735). There is an inscription in German dated December 1902 and the style of the pictures suggests they are from the 1890s.
First gather the eggs from the hen.
Now they can be hard boiled.
Next, the decoration.
Get to the stall early for the best selection!
All the subjects in this volume of handkerchiefs suggest that they were manufactured for the children’s market. There are pictures of circus acts, including one of lions jumping through hoops of fire. Four each tell the story of Puss in Boots and Little Red Riding Hood. Others show children playing at the beach, rolling hoops, sailing a boat, and parading down a country lane. Three illustrate scenes from the story of Noah’s ark.
If you are wondering why there are handkerchiefs in the Cotsen Children’s Library, here’s the answer. Mr. Cotsen was also a passionate collector of textiles and accumulated quite a selection of children’s handkerchiefs–enough to fill three boxes– which he gave to the Cotsen Children’s Library, instead of a museum. And why not? After all, there are at least fifteen boxes of cloth books in the stacks as well…