Orbis sensualium pictus


Often described as the first children’s picture-book, this was originally published in Latin and German in Nuremberg in 1658 and quickly translated into English by Charles Hoole. 

Jan Komenský or Comenius, born in Northern Moravia (now in the Czech Republic), had been a teacher and wrote about educational theory. He was concerned to provide children with an education based on the senses and to create a text-book which would be accessible to all levels of ability. 

Here, unusually, the sounds made by animals are presented as the way to learn the alphabet. Copying the noise made by the animal depicted allows the child, for example, to identify “B” from the bleating lamb.

Full title:
Orbis sensualium pictus
1659, London
Printed book / Children's book
Johann Amos Comenius
Usage terms
Public Domain

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