Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Book of the week; We've tales to tell published by Raphael Tuck c1894

We've tales to tell; a collection of stories written by Helen Marion Burnside, Edric Vredenberg, E. Nesbit, Clara Thwaites, Elizabeth Day and E. M. Chettle.
Published by Raphael Tuck & Sons, London, Paris, New York. Undated but gift inscription 'for dear little Dorothy with love from Uncle Noel & Auntie Chick Feb 13, 1894'
Featuring seven very fine chromolithographed illustrations and numerous black and white line drawings.
Illustrated by Harriett M Bennett, Jane Willis Grey, J Pauline Sunter, Ellen Welby, Fanny Bowers, Inez Warry and Fanny Moody.
The tales are; the queen of a castle, the fairy stone, Miss Janet, how Jack came to tea, Bevis, Simpkins, and a crooked tail.

Raphael Tuck & Sons; 

Raphael Tuck and his wife Ernestine opened a picture framing shop and art gallery in Bishopgate, London in October 1866. Three years later they moved to a larger shop in City Road, and Raphael began to produce lithographs and colour chromolithographs. By 1870, his sons had joined the business, and the focus was turned to the import and publication of printed paper products, including books and postcards. By 1881, Raphael had retired and his sons were running the company. It was at this time that the now-familiar company trademark, an artist’s easel and palette, was registered. The company was awarded its first Royal Warrant by Queen Victoria in 1893. Ernestine died in 1895, and Raphael’s health began to fail.

By the end of the nineteenth-century Raphael Tuck & Sons were major publishers of Christmas cards, scraps, paper dolls, books, calendars and prints. In 1899 a new head office (Raphael House) was opened in the City.  Raphael died from influenza in March 1900 but his sons continued to expand the business and were later joined by their own sons.

During the Second World War the company headquarters, archives and many original artworks were destroyed. Work continued in several small locations around the city, and at the end of the war things returned to the fortunes of pre-war days. The business continued through to the 1960s when it was acquired by Purnell & Sons.

If you would like to find out more about Raphael Tuck and sons, there is a very good website here

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the illustrations from this very pretty antiquarian book.

Update January 2016.  'Wendy' contacted me to say she owns a copy of a book with the same title as the one I show here but with a completely different front cover. Wendy tells me her book is printed on very heavy paper and has only one colour illustration. Her copy also has an inscription with the date 1935 (see images).

From the cover, I can see this is a book from the Raphael Tuck & Sons “come to life” series with one pop-up panorama. Wendy doesn't say what stories her book contains so I'm unsure if her book is a reprint with fewer illustrations or a completely different book with the same title. I suspect Raphael Tuck & Sons reused titles as did/do many other publishers. Sadly, in 1940 Raphael Tuck was bombed in the blitz of London, and the records from the business were destroyed.


  1. Pocketfulofbooks21 March 2012 at 11:02

    Awwww I absolutely love this! I love illustrated books, especially ones that look particularly 'vintage'! This is just adorable- drawings of could you not love it!? Thank you for sharing- that has cheered me up! x

  2. barbaraannefisher21 March 2012 at 11:42

    You cheered me up too just be leaving a comment, thank you. I think the book and the puppies are adorable, so I’m very glad you liked them. Do you have a blog? I only ask because if you do I would love to call in and maybe leave a comment in return.

  3. Tuck has always been one of my favorite publishers, and those adorable puppies are part of the reason why. What a shame to have lost so much during the war. Thanks for these pictures on an otherwise very foggy morning.

  4. barbaraannefisher21 March 2012 at 12:44

    Hello Alex, thanks for calling in. Raphael Tuck did publish some wonderful books and postcards. It’s awful to think about just how much must have been lost. It’s a beautiful day in Somerset, blue sky and sunshine, still chilly but lovely to look out on.

  5. What a truly delightful book Barbara. The illustrations are just gorgeous - I love all of them, especially the last one. The inscription makes it all the more special. You really do have some wonderful treasures.

  6. barbaraannefisher21 March 2012 at 22:24

    Thanks Sharon I’m glad you like them. It’s a treat for me to be able to share them, and it makes it even nicer when nice people (like you!) take the time to call in and comment.

  7. The Desert Rocks21 March 2012 at 22:39

    Did Raphael or his sons draw the adorable dog pictures? They remind me of the RCA dog that was very famous in the states in the early 20th century.

  8. What wonderful illustrations! I just love them. Being a huge dog and cat fan- these are just too cute. I loved reading the history of the business. How sad that so much was destroyed during WWII. Great inscription! Thanks so much for sharing!

  9. Simply adorable illustrations!

  10. I love these pics of children and dogs. What a fun, fun book!

  11. Hi Barbara

    What a book! You would have to go a long way to find something as cute, pretty and adorable as that.

    I thought his post cards were good but this book is even better.

    You don't really need words with a book like this when the illustrations are so good - they tell the story.

  12. It's not only the illustrations I've enjoyed viewing here, but the history of Raphael Tuck & Sons as well. I haven't heard of them before your post, Barbara, and I always learn so much when I pop by. The information you provided read like the background of a Dickensian story. (And of course, the dog and cat pictures are cuddly-real!)

  13. barbaraannefisher22 March 2012 at 15:56

    Hello Eve, the illustrations were provided by several different artists, including Fanny Moody, Harriett Bennett and Inez Warry. I forgot all about Nipper the RCA dog, but now you mention it, I can see the similarity.

  14. barbaraannefisher22 March 2012 at 16:02

    Hi Jess, me too! You can probably tell how much I like them by the number of times I feature them on the blog! Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  15. barbaraannefisher22 March 2012 at 16:05

    Hi Diane, I think so too but like I said to Jess, I think I’m a bit biased. I’m glad you liked them.

  16. barbaraannefisher22 March 2012 at 16:10

    Hello Donna, it is fun! Thanks for your comment.

  17. barbaraannefisher22 March 2012 at 16:14

    Hi Michelle, that was partly why I featured it. Time was short, and I thought this book could easily tell its own story! I like Tuck postcards and have a few in my collection. I will share some on the blog when I get the time.

  18. barbaraannefisher22 March 2012 at 16:25

    Hi Claudine, I wasn’t sure if anyone would be interested in the history, so your comment was much appreciated. I agree about the cuddly-real cat and dog pics! Thanks for calling in.

  19. My daughter was looking over my shoulder and has now indicated that my life will be considerably longer if I giver her free access to you catalogue.

  20. barbaraannefisher23 March 2012 at 08:34

    So, what’s stopping you???
    Thanks for your comment Roger, I appreciate it.

  21. Tuppencehappenny2 April 2012 at 06:37

    Just had to say - love your site! Often visit for the gorgeous illustrations and the information you provide. Also loved the beautiful copperplate writing of the inscription on this one. "Dear little Dorothy" conjures up a lovely image.

  22. barbaraannefisher2 April 2012 at 11:53

    That’s so sweet of you, thank you! I love all the books that pass through my hands (and the ones I keep!) so it’s lovely to be able to share them.
    Tuppencehappeny is such a nice word. I used to get thruppence a week pocket money – happy days! Thanks for calling in.


I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx

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