David Miles Books

3 Ethelbert Road
CT1 3ND 01227 464773

Alphabet and Number Cards. .
This item has been sold
Title Alphabet and Number Cards.
Stock Code 13491
Description Fifty-nine [of 61?] engraved cards bearing hand-coloured images of characters taken from popular plays, opera, history, mythology, and the Commedia del Arte; many masked or carrying masks. No imprint or date, but almost certainly London, circa 1773, Twenty-five of the card bear upper case letters of the alphabet; another twenty-five bear lower case letters of the alphabet; the remaining nine cards bear the numbers 1 - 9. Curiously the images bear no relation to the letters or numbers. The upper case set lacks the card for 'V;' the lower case set, that for 'j.' Each card measures 92 x 60mm. The fifty nine cards are contained in a modern box of three sections covered in 18th century marbled paper with a reproduction of one card to the front panel. The cards are fine, and one can only speculate as to why two cards have been allowed to go missing. However an accompanying letter from the Editor of the magazine Country Life, dated April 26th, 1946 may explain. Writing to the owner of the cards, a Mr. F. E. G. Bagshawe of Ford Hall, Chapel en le Frith, he informs him that though he is unable to reproduce the two historical cards, he will be publishing images of the alphabet cards in the issue for May 3rd. As yet, we have been unable to trace a copy of the magazine for that date, but it may well be that the venture into print provided the opportunity for the two cards to go astray. Of the utmost rarity. Ford Hall, which was the home of William Bagshawe, the 'Apostle of the Peak' who was forced to resign his ministry in 1662 for refusing to accept the Book of Common Prayer, remained in the ownership of the Bagshawe family until well into the twentieth century.