London: R. Harrild, 1815. Engraved writing sheet, measuring 19 by 15 inches (480x380mm), with a blank area in the center reserved for examples of penmanship. The six brightly colored illustrations depict scenes from the Book of Esther, highlighting the story's exotic Persian locale. The framed battle at the top is centered on an elephant with warriors perched on his back and an unfortunate foe gripped in his trunk, while the coastal vignette at the bottom has a man riding a camel. Four smaller illustrations form the sides of the frame and show scenes from Esther's victory over Haman. These ornamented writing sheets, also known as writing blanks, "school pieces," or "Christmas pieces," were used to encourage good penmanship in children. The blank space was filled in with a sampler of a child's best penmanship, and the completed page was often given as a gift from a child to their parents. This particular sheet is entirely intact and unmarked. Dated December 1, 1815, and printed by R. Harrild who is best known for the introduction of composition rollers to printing. Slight soiling to the edges of the paper, else fine. A remarkable piece of juvenile ephemera.
(Inventory #: 26838)
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