title_image.gif (3K)
Exhibition home · Lilly Library home
      
  

gt_brit3_thm.jpg (8K)

The Book of Nouns, or Things Which May Be Seen. London: Printed by Darton and Harvey, Gracechurch Street, 1800.

religious_tracts_thm.jpg (7K)

Children's Bread, or Daily Texts for the Young. Second Edition. London: Religious Tract Society, [ ca. 1835].  Daily Verses. London: Religious Tract Society, [ca. 1836]

bryce2_thm.jpg (11K)

David Bryce & Son of Glasgow. Mite Series in Tartan. [ca. 1900]

 

Great Britain
in the Nineteenth Century

Louis W. Bondy has described the nineteenth century as "the supreme age of the miniature book." The successes of preceding centuries were built upon, such as Thomas Boreman's Gigantick Histories and other works becoming the progenitors of a splendid array of miniature books for children. Social change and the industrial revolution led to an increase in both books and readers. A more widespread interest in education and a large increase in literacy, as well as technological changes in the printing and publishing industry made the mass production of reading matter for the newly literate classes a fast growing industry. Especially in England and America, religious tract societies produced immense quantities of miniature books, often distributed free or at cost. This was made possible in large part by the widespread use of stereotype plates, invented in the previous century.

Lithography also emerged as a new method of reproduction, and later in the century photoreduction and photolithography were added to the means available to the printers of miniature books. At the same time new technologies were being introduced, typefounders continued to cast type for miniature books of exceptional quality, as seen in the works published by William Pickering. Spanning the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century, the achievements of David Bryce and Son of Glasgow provide a fitting high point in miniature book production at the close of a century noted for its miniature books.

  greyline.gif (1K)