Triplets spine and title page

Triplets is a compilation of three children's stories comprising ‘The Baby's Opera’, ‘The Baby's Bouquet’, and the ‘Baby's Own Æsop’. The book was published by George Routledge & Sons Limited in 1899.  The book features original designs in colour by illustrator, Walter Crane (1845-1915), and is printed by Edmund Evans. This is copy No. 252 of a limited edition of 500.

Illustrations by Walter Crane

‘Baby’s Opera’

The first book is called ‘The Baby's Opera’. This is a charming children's nursery rhyme book, featuring beautiful colour illustrations throughout. There are thirty-five nursery rhymes in all including classics such as ‘Jack and Jill’, ‘Three Blind Mice’, ‘The Mulberry Bush’,’ Hickory-Dickory-Dock’ and ‘Little-Bo-Peep’.

Illustrations by Walter Crane

‘Baby’s Bouquet’

The second book is called ‘The Baby’s Bouquet’. It consists of old nursery rhymes and tunes, Including songs from Britain and Europe like ‘The Little Man and Maid’, ‘Lucy-Locket’, ‘The Little Cock Sparrow’, ‘The North Wind & The Robin’, ‘ABC’, ‘Charley Over the Water’, ‘London Bridge’, ‘Pussy Cat’, ‘The Three Little Kittens’.   

Baby's Own Aesop title page

‘Baby’s Own Aesop’

The third book in this compilation is called ‘Baby’s Own Aesop’. Again, all beautifully illustrated the tales of Aesop's Fables are shortened and put into limericks for the younger reader.

Crane's illustrations for Baby's Own Aesop

Crane is primarily known for his illustrations of children’s books.  Crane was a close friend of William Morris, and a fellow socialist, who shared Morris’s artistic views. Together with Morris, Crane was a recognised leader in the Art Nouveau and the Arts and Crafts movements.   Walter Crane was one of the earliest contributors to children's literature and one of the most influential illustrators in the development of children's colour picture books. Crane began working for Edmund Evans in 1864 producing bright, colourful books which revolutionised the type of children's books available. His Arts and Crafts illustrations came to typify children's books for decades to come.

In his memoir, An Artist’s Reminiscences, written in 1907, Crane recalls that the first edition of 10,000 copies of Triplets soon sold out as did later reprints, believing that ‘No doubt the combination of favourite nursery rhymes with pictures, as well as the music of the old airs, made it attractive, and commended it to mothers as well as children.’

This copy of Triplets comes from the Owen Pritchard Collection and can be ordered to view via the Library Primo System to be seen at the Archives Reading Room. 

Publication date: 20 May 2021