Last week I featured the book, The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes, a moralizing children’s book that Jane Austen kept all through her lifetime. As she was growing up, she was probably familiar with the Cinderella fairytale. Hundreds of versions of the folk tale from a variety of European sources exist, but the myth goes as far back as ancient Greece and China. The story of the cinder maid and the glass slipper was popularized in 1697 by Charles Perrault in Histoires, ou Contes du Temps Passè.
Written for the aristocratic Salons of C17th French society, Perrault’s ‘Cendrillon’ is stripped of all violent, bawdy or socially moralizing material and is instead focused primarily on entertaining. – The Origins of the Cinderella Story
The images in this post show the paper dolls based on Perrault’s tale that were popular during Jane Austen’s time.
The images shown above and below are for sale at Theriault’s: The Doll Masters
Lot: 17. An 1814 English Paper Doll and Book “Cinderella” by S&J Fuller
A paper bound miniature book,5″ x 4″,recounts in “beautifully versified” form the favored fairy tale,and was designed to be read while playing with the paper dolls,vignettes and accessories that illustrate the tale,comprising six costume scenes including the wedding,and Cinderella’s coach and horses (in two sections). An inscription inside the front cover reads “To my dear little niece Constance Foley”. S&J Fuller,Temple of Fancy,Rathbone Place,London,1814. Structure and lovely delicate colors of paper dolls and scenes well preserved,coachman’s head missing,one hand missing,stain on book cover. England,1814.
Around 1810, the London firm of S. & J. Fuller published books with paper dolls. The 1814 book (or Book of Instruction, as printed on the cover) relates the Cinderella story in verse and is illustrated with cut out figures.
It is interesting to note that Cinderella’s head is removable and can be placed on various paper cut bodies. You see her in the image below walking through a town scape and churning butter. Children could arrange the characters in the paper sets, or drama sheets, and reenact the story.
While these scenic play books became increasingly popular, I imagine that they must have been very expensive and affordable only by the well-to-do.
The image below contains fancy gowns and the marriage ceremony in which Cinderella marries her prince. Cinderella’s high-waisted costumes have a decided Renaissance influence, and the prince could have doubled for Romeo.
Cinderella’s head becomes much more refined once she hooks up with the prince, as you can see below. She is given a fashionable hat and a jeweled tiara with feathers. The head can also be placed on the figure in the carriage, when the Cinderella story has come full circle.
The beautiful versified edition of Cinderella below was donated in 1991 by Ms. Julia P. Wightman to the The Morgan Library in New York. Printed in 1819, the paper cut dolls seem more refined than in the 1817 version, especially Cinderella’s head, which has blond hair. Click on the open book images to read portions of the verse.
The image below is from Picturing Childhood: The evolution of the illustrated children’s book. Therieaults the Doll Master, Cinderella Paper Dolls, 1814, Published by S. and J. Fuller, London, 5 3/4 in. (14.6 cm) (approx.) Note that Cinderella’s elegant head is placed in the wedding scene. In this instance her hair is dark again..
Below is a more traditional children’s book version of Cinderella. It was published in 1827 and illustrated with hand–colored woodcuts. By the mid-19th century, lithography and printing were being used routinely in book illustrations, but such drawings were still rare when this book came out.
In 1812, the Brothers Grimm wrote the Cinderella story that seems more familiar to readers today. By the end of the 19th century, over 300 versions of the Cinderella story existed in Europe. In those years:
The Fairy–Godmother seems more frightening than her later benevolent renderings, such as in Disney’s film version of the story. – Past Times: Cinderella :18th and 19th century Cinderella books.
More on the Topic:
- Read the story at this link
- Variations of the Cinderella Story on Pitt.edu
- 19th Century Children’s Books
- Cinderella Folk Tales: Variations in Plot and Setting: A series of lessons
- Cinderella, or the Little Glass Slipper (1865), by Brothers Daziel (Image below.)