Wonderful reprint of a set of Dutch alphabet myriorama cards, the original of which dates c.1825. This reprint is apparently published by IBM Nederland N.V. Amsterdam. This reprint set has no date, but elsewhere on the internet they are dated c.1970 and I have adopted that date. The box and cards have intentionally been made to look like the 1825 originals, and so it is difficult to estimate the date based upon the look of them.
Wikipedia has this description of a myriorama:
“Myriorama originally meant a set of illustrated cards which 19th century children could arrange and re-arrange, forming different pictures. Later in the century the name was also applied to shows using a sequence of impressive visual effects to entertain and inform an audience. The word myriorama was invented to mean myriad pictures, following the model of panorama, diorama, cosmorama and other novelties. These were all part of a wider interest in viewing landscape as panorama, and in new ways of presenting ‘spectacular’ scenes.
“The early myrioramas were cards with people, buildings, and other images on compatible backgrounds, and could be laid out in any order, allowing a child to create a variety of imaginary landscapes. Jean-Pierre Brès, a French children's writer, published an early version which he described as a polyoptic picture (tableau polyoptique) in the early 19th century, and John Clark of London took up the idea and designed a set of cards he called a myriorama. Clark's ‘second series’ myriorama, an ‘Italian landscape’, was produced in 1824, the same year as a similar set of English cards called a panoramacopia created by drawing teacher T.T.Dales. Reproductions of cards from the period are on sale today with other ‘traditional toys’. Various contemporary artists have used the idea as inspiration for work they have named myriorama.”
This alphabet myriorama has 24 cards – consecutively numbered 1 to 24, inclusive – with a letter at the bottom of each, both small and capital versions. The letters Q and X are not represented, and my understanding is that those letters are only used in Dutch with words absorbed from other languages. As the numbering indicates, the set is complete. There are also two additional cards in Dutch, one of which has a child’s poems, and one of which appears to have a mathematical formula. I can confirm that the cards have been designed in such a way that they are “interchangeable” and that they make a scenic “panorama” in any order. The pictures are intended to demonstrate this. They do not have to be in alphabetical or numerical order – quite ingenious. If all 24 were placed side by side, it would make one continuous “panorama.” The cards are a narrow, long shape on thick stock, measuring 120mm x 55mm, and come in the original box.
As noted, I believe that the cards and box have been made to look as close to the originals as possible. This is important, because the cards have some discoloration (akin to foxing/soiling), and while I believe they were intentionally made that way, I can’t swear to it. They are otherwise in excellent condition without any creases or corner issues. Similarly, the box has a dated look and mimics the original, with some staining that I think is intentional. However, there is wear to the box and a very large abrasion on the back that are insults to the box subsequent, not part of any original design.
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