Monday, March 11, 2013

Drawing of the Day: Elephant on a Raft, c. 1900

Watercolor by G.H. Thompson
for Ernest Nister
c. 1900
The Victoria & Albert Museum

An elephant in blue trousers and a red-and-white striped shirt is the star of this watercolor on stiff card. We can see that he has escaped a sinking ship on a raft which is laden with his supplies. From the wreckage, he’s taken, in addition to his guns, a pretty green vase.

This watercolor was created in 1900 by G.H. Thompson for Ernest Nister (1842-1909) who began his publishing career in 1885 when he took over a lithographic workshop in Nürnberg, There, Nister printed books for London publishers, and by 1888, he became a publisher in his own right, establishing his offices at 24 St. Bride Street, London.

Nister became known for his printing of colorful books for children in the last quarter of the Nineteenth Century, and was especially popular for his pop-up books and editions with various mechanisms. This original drawing, initialed by the artist, came to the V&A from the Library of Anne Renier and F.G. Renier.

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