Monday, September 16, 2019

Victorian Children At Play Illustrations From The Harper's Young People Illustrations Book From 1889


There's nothing more delightful than watching young children play.  As a young child I have such fond memories of playing with my older brother or friends.  We were usually outside running around, playing a sport, riding our bikes, playing on the beach and looking for crabs, or getting into trouble with our antics.....lol

Seems times have drastically changed for children as I rarely see any children playing outside anymore.

So, of course I was drawn to the Victorian images of children playing like the illustration above which appeared in the December 8, 1888 weekly of the Harper's Young People Illustrations Book from 1889 on page 46.  It's entitled "The Only Boy In The Family."

In looking at the illustration you might think it was labelled wrong and that the child is a girl.  Well, it seems in the Victorian era boys and girls clothing was indistinguishable. There was a practical reason for why boys worn dresses and it has to do with diapers and potty training.  It would have taken way too much time for changing a little boy.  It was so much easier to just lift the dress. Unbuttoning Victorian trousers was way too time consuming for mothers and way too difficult for little boys to do.


I just love the illustration above entitled 'The Gossips."  It appeared in the July 6, 1889 weekly of the Harper's Young People Illustrations Book on page 540.  How adorable are these two? Wonder what they were talking about?



How charming is the illustration above that appeared in the January 26, 1889 weekly of the Harper's Young People Illustrations Book on page 164.  It was the picture for a poem entitled "Little Clara's Grievance" which was written by Margaret Eytinge.    Here's what it said:

Oh, how sad it is to know
Little girls must always grow--
Grow in size and grow in years!
Thinking of it brings the tears.
But though I may cry and fret,
Every day I bigger get;
Every day I'm older too.
And there's nothing I could do
That would make me stop a-growing,
Or would keep the years from going.
Now I'm five; soon I'll be six:
Here's a poor child in a fix!
After six comes seven; then
Follow eight and nine and ten.
How I wish I could stay
As I am this very day--
Always have my hair in curl. 
Always me mamma's wee girl!
But I can't; I've got to grow.
Oh dear me! Why is it so?
Very soon I must be six; 
Here's a poor child in a fix!

She's a five year old girl fretting over getting older.  Wait til she gets to 65...lol She'll definitely be fretting then.


Once again, in the illustration above we have a boy blowing a horn.  This illustration appeared in  the June 22, 1889 weekly of the Harper's Young People Illustrations Book on page 501.  It's entitled "All Are Not Hunters Who Blow the Horn."  The caption was a 4 line verse:

Tantara! Tantara!  Tantara!
Bobby has got a new horn.
He drives us all crazy from morning till night,
Then sleeps like an angel till morn.


I couldn't help but chuckle when I saw the illustration above from the September 7, 1889 weekly of the Harper's Young People Illustrations Book on page 686 as it reminded me of something my older brother and I might might have tried on our younger sister or brothers.  It was entitled "An Interesting Experiment."


The illustration above appeared in the December 22, 1888 weekly of the Harper's Young People Illustrations Book on page 92 and was the picture for a short poem entitled "Little Honora Mullally" written by Margaret Eytinge.  It was about a little Irish girl in tattered clothing watching some children play on Christmas day.  I love all the details of her outfit and the beautiful expression of pride on her face.

The illustration above was one of a group of five Christmas Sketches  that appeared in the January 12, 1889 weekly of the Harper's Young People Illustrations Book on page 144 and was entitled "Now, Charlie, Kiss Me!"  Can't you just picture this scenario of a young girl holding a mistletoe above her head and the little hesitant boy getting ready to run away.


I just love the verse that appeared with the illustration above in the March 2,1889 weekly of the Harper's Young People Illustrations Book on page 254.  It read:

Three little boys and thee little girls,
Some with smooth hair, and some with curls!
And remember, if we 'sturb you with our noise,
Only half of us are girls; the rest are boys!


The illustration above was on the front cover of the July 6, 1889 weekly of the Harper's Young People Illustrations Book on page 530.  It was entitled "A Morning Serenade" and was drawn by Jessie Shepherd.  How delightful is this illustration?  I love all the details and the antics of the children.


The illustration above was on the cover of the October 5, 1889 weekly of the Harper's Young People Illustrations Book on page 738 and was entitled " The minuet." It was also drawn by Jessie Shepherd.

What I noticed about this when I blew it up was the expressions of the children dancing and the little girl in the lower left hand corner. They all seemed bored out of their minds...lol I also noticed the elaborate details on the dress of the young girl dancing.  Amazing.





The illustration above which appeared in the the August 17, 1889 weekly of the Harper's Young People Illustrations Book on page 633 was entitled "Robin Hood and His Merry Men."  It was drawn by Lydia F. Emmet.

What's interesting about this illustration is Robin Hood and His Merry Men are all depicted as children.  I don't think I've seen them as children anywhere before.


The illustration above was a full page engraving in the May 11, 1889 weekly of the Harper's Young People Illustrations Book on page 409 and was engraved by Ch. Baude after the painting by J.T. Errazuris.

What was amazing about this engraving is the beautiful detail on the children and the field of flowers. Remarkable.

I hope you enjoyed seeing all these illustrations.

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