Afternoon Tea: Rhymes for Children. New York: Thomas Nelson and Sons; London: Frederick Warne and Co., ca. 1880.
This delicate color-printed illustration of children at play is taken from a book of children’s poetry published jointly in New York and London by the England-based houses of Thomas Nelson and Sons and Frederick Warne. Both publishers were direct competitors of New York titan McLoughlin Brothers, whose massive press runs of brightly colored chromolithographed children’s books soundly dominated the late nineteenth-century American picture book market. Although this illustration was designed by John G. Sowerby and H.H. Emmerson, it clearly was influenced by the quaint antique style of Kate Greenaway. The girls are dressed in empire waist gowns from the early nineteenth century, and the grandmother is sitting at a spinning wheel, which had been largely rendered obsolete by late nineteenth-century textile factories.