Description

This ‘turn-up’ book was handmade almost 300 years ago. It is a cross between a playful game and a serious religious tale. If you lift the flaps on each page in the right order, you see a story of sin and death ending with a gloomy-looking skeleton. If you follow your own path through it, you find strange and magical creatures – a merman with a fish tail, and a lion-headed eagle.

How was the ‘turn-up’ book made?

A note inside reveals that it was made in 1741, perhaps by a boy called William Wood, perhaps by his aunt ‘Franke Mariot’. Whoever it was, they sewed the book together with small, neat stitches and drew the pictures with pen and ink, sometimes adding watercolour paint.

What happens in the story?

The rhyming story starts with God’s first human beings – Adam and his wife Eve, drawn here as a mermaid. An evil serpent tempts Eve to eat a forbidden apple, and God punishes them by sending them out of the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve have two sons, Cain and Abel. But Cain murders Abel in a fit of jealousy. The book ends with a baby who grows up to become a rich miser. But riches can’t protect him from death, lurking beneath the last flap.

Where did the idea come from?

This shows how people created their own books in the 18th century, inspired by their reading. It was based on a printed turn-up book called The Beginning, Progress and End of Man, first published in 1650. The Garden of Eden section is the artist’s own idea. As turn-up books got more popular, they moved away from religion to include pantomime characters like the comic Harlequin. Because of this, they are often known as ‘harlequinades’.

Transcript

Here Adam first leads up the Van,
True Mirrour of unstained Life,
Till he became a Married man,
Turn up the Leafe and see his Wife.


Ove [?] in Virgins blush Array’d
Her Face more fair her smiles are Freer
But wo’d you see a Stranger Maid
Turn down the Leafe and you may see her.


Ove [?] in Virgins blush Array’d
Her Face more fair her smiles are Freer
But wo’d you see a Stranger Maid
Turn down the Leafe and you may see her.

Eyes forbear this Meermaids face,
And Ears forbear her Song,
Her face hath an Alluring Grace,
More Charming is her Tongue.


The Serpent being the Subtilst Beast,
Of any in the Field
Full soon had he beguiled Eve
And made her for to Yield
She did not regard the Great loss
But tasted of the forbidden Tree
And wo’d you see the further Cross
Turn up the Leaf and you may see.


Look here and see the fall of man
Almost as soon as he was made.
That when he see the Angel come
He hid his Face and was afraid.

Yet for the sake of ma[n]
the Lord reveng’d wo’d [be]
And w[ha]t befell the Serpent [__]
Turn Down the Leaf and s[ee]

Because the Serpent hath wrought such Strif[e]
And plunged mankind into sorrow Deep
Dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy Life
And on thy Belly Creep.


Cain the First of men by Birth,
Brings offerings with his Brother.
He brings the first Fruits of the Earth,
Turn up the Leafe and see the other.


Abel comes and offers to God
The best and Youngest of his fold
But wou’d you see his period
Turn down the leaf and it behold


A Lion roaring from his Den
With purpose for to range
Is turn’d into another Shape
Turn up the Sight is Strange


A Griffin’s Shape you may behold
Half fowle half beast is he
As Strange a Sight I shall unfold
Turn down the Leaf and See


A Griffin’s Shape you may behold
Half fowle half beast is he
As Strange a Sight I shall unfold
Turn down the Leaf and See

Behold within this Eagles Claws
An Infant here doth Lye
Which as a prey she fast doth hold
With wings prepar’d to Fly


A Lion roaring from his Den
With purpose for to range
Is turn’d into another Shape
Turn up the Sight is Strange

Behold within this Eagles Claws
An Infant here doth Lye
Which as a prey she fast doth hold
With wings prepar’d to Fly


A Heart here is with Greif oppress’d
What Salve can cure the same
A Salve here is within this Heart
Turn up and see it Plain.


A Purse of Gold and Silver Store
It cures his heart he feels no more
But is from Grief and Care set free
Look further and you shall him see


I Have Gold and silver Store
Bribes of the Rich and pawns of the Poor
What worldly crosses can trouble me
Turn Down the Leaf and you may See


Oh see oh see; thou art but Dust
Thy God and silver is but Rust,
Thy Glass is run thy time is Spent
No worldly Goods can it prevent
Finis


Sickness is come and Death is Nigh
Help Gold and Silver or Else I Dye
It can do Nothing it is but Dross
Turn up and see the further Cross


William Wood
His Book
Gin Him by his Eant
Frank Mariot
1741


Full title:
Here Adam first heads up the van
Published:
estimated 1741
Format:
Manuscript / Movable book / Original artwork / Illustration / Image
Language:
English
Creator:
Unknown
Usage terms

Public Domain in in most countries other than the UK. Image © Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford

Held by
Bodleian Library, University of Oxford
Shelfmark:
Opie E 13

Full catalogue details

Related articles

Themed book list: Pop-up and movable books

Article by:
Theme:
Pop-up and moveable books

Browse children's books from different times and places.