London: Dean & Son, n.d. circa 1870s. A rare copy of this pantomime book published in the 1870s - possibly 1873. It was published as part of Dean & Son's Home Pantomime Toy Books. Dean & Son was a 19th-century London publishing firm, best known for making and mass-producing movable children's books and toy books, established around 1800. Thomas Dean founded the firm, probably in the late 1790s, bringing to it innovative lithographic printing processes. By the time his son George became a partner in 1847, the firm was the preeminent publisher of novelty children's books in London. They were one of the first firms to introduce pop-up books for children—which they were able to publish in large numbers. Their "pantomime books" were books where the scenes changed in the pictures, created by the use of different page sizes. The books were characterized by engraved illustrations (using technology developed in Germany in the 1790) that were then lavishly hand-colored. By the end of the 1850s they published more than 200 titles, each book of equal size, each costing sixpence. The Home Pantomime Toy Series was a series that included sumptuously colored and illustrated chromolithographs and became popular editions, such as their printing of Beauty and the Beast.
This copy, while rare and charming, shows by the condition of the covers that it was roughly handled. Both the color pictorial front cover and the rear cover with publisher ads are detached. They are also nicked, chipped and torn. Text pages are worn around the edges, and have light spots. Surprisingly the pantomime pages showing a stage and performers in various scenes are quite bright and generally in very good shape. The folding flaps are loose from being turned but still holding. The caption on the title page states "with five set scenes & nine trick changes." About good condition. No copies in commerce and only one library in OCLC is listed as owning it. Measurer 7.25 x 9.5 inches. 8 pages and 2 leaves with the fold-outs and color illustrations. CHILD/110623.