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Alphabet of Animals
Raphael Tuck
Raphael Tuck & Sons
are widely known for their splendid colour prints, such as on post cards, greeting cards, die cut cards, scrapbooks, puzzles, paper dolls, children's books, and more. Their products are highly collectable materials nowadays.

Raphael Tuck was born in East Prussia in 1821 and arrived in England with his wife Ernestine and seven children in 1865. Within a year they opened a small shop for picture framing and selling prints in London. By 1871 they had published their first own greeting cards. Soon their sons joined the business. In 1881 Adolph Tuck succeeded his father as managing director of the company.

Queen Victoria granted them a Royal Warrant. For some years Tuck regularly produced Christmas cards for her and other members of the Royal Family.

Around 1900 the firm produced a series of alphabet books which contain many charming full-colour illustrations. For example, their "All Round the Year A B C" is based on the many pleasurable activities of childhood such as going to the circus, gathering flowers and the joys of Christmas when "loaded with toys, Old Santa Claus visits the good girls and boys".

Unfortunately in 1940, during one of the worst air raids of the Second World War, Raphael House was destroyed, and all the records of its postcards and books, together with many originals, were lost for ever.
Before we can learn to read, it is necessary to know all the letters of the alphabet and that's why during the last few centuries a number of teaching aids were developed to help young children master this important task.
Among the earliest of these teaching aids are some items which are virtually unknown today. Still remaining however are the many ABC Books or Alphabet Books.

During the 19th century ever-growing numbers of children were attending school and learning to read. At home, parents, or perhaps a  nurse or governess, often helped young children learn their ABC's by reading to them from alphabet books. Some writers simply chose 26 everyday objects that would be familiar to a small child but many others made a creative use of themes. Animal themes were always popular, as were birds, flowers and fruit.

The Magic Lantern Alphabet of Animals is a fabulous vintage Raphael Tuck children's book that gives a nice presentation of the alphabet using images projected by a magic lantern. On each of the pages of the book is an illustration of a magic lantern displaying some letters and the corresponding animals. Marvellous graphics. Seize: 12" x 10" (30,5 x 25,5 cm).
Alphabet Animals Raphael Tuck Alphabet Animals Raphael Tuck
Front cover from the English edition (l) and the French edition (r). For both editions the letter 'L' stands for 'Lion'. The English edition shows the RTS trademark in the right hand bottom corner with the text: Designed at the Studios in England and printed at the Fine Art Works in Bavaria'.
Alphabet Animals Raphael Tuck
Back cover from the English edition (l) and the French edition (r) on which more titles of Toy Books are mentioned. The French edition was published by BERNARDIN-BÉCHET et FILS, Libraires-Éditeurs, 53 Quai des Grands Augustius, Paris. Possibly other editions in other languages exist.
Alphabet Animals Raphael Tuck
French edition. The 'A' stands for 'Autruche' (ostrich). English edition. The 'F' for 'Fox' and the 'G' for 'Goat'. In the French edition the 'F' stands for 'Faisan' (pheasant) and the 'G' for 'Gazelle'. The letter 'H' is added and means 'Hibou' (owl).
Alphabet Animals Raphael Tuck
'K', 'L', and 'M' in the English edition.....
...... and the 'L' and 'M' in the French edition. The animals are a 'Loup' (wolf) and a 'Mulet' (mule)........
.... while the English edition uses this lovely picture for the I and J, represented by the Icebear and Jackdaw.
Alphabet Animals Raphael Tuck
Alphabet Animals Raphael Tuck
The 'Nightingale', the 'Ostrich' and the 'Parrot' in the English edition. The 'Rossignol' (nightingale) and the 'Singe' (ape) in the French edition. The 'Tiger', the 'Unicorn' and the 'Vulture' in the English edition.
Is there anyone who does not recall with affection a favourite ABC book?
More children's books depicting magic lanterns. Finally the 'Zèbre' (zebra) for the 'Z' in both editions.
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Last update: 07-04-2022.
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