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Early to bed and early to rise

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    ca.1900 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Hitch, B. (artist)
    Nister, Ernest, born 1842 - died 1909 (publisher)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and ink and watercolour on card

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Ernest Nister (1842-1909) began his publishing career in 1885 when he acquired a lithographic workshop in Nürnberg and printed books for London publishers. In 1888 he became a publisher in his own right with offices at 24 St. Bride Street, London. He appointed the writer and editor, Robert Ellice Mack, as director.

Nister specialised in high quality colour printing for children in the last quarter of the 19th century. Movable books with various mechanisms became his speciality after 1890 (when be published his first stand-up book) but he also produced numerous picture books, annuals, poetry, nursery rhymes, calendars and greetings cards. He worked with a core of writers, including Clifton Bingham and Robert Ellice Mack, and illustrators, in particular Eveline Lance, Harriett M. Bennett, Edith A. Cubitt and Rosa Petherick.

B. Hitch's illustration, 'Early to bed and early to rise', was published ca.1900 in Ernest Nister's Bright Eyes Story Book (no. 2275), accompanying the verse:

'If you would be healthy, wealthy too, and wise,
Go to sleep when stars do peep, and with the sunshine rise!'

Physical description

Pen and ink and watercolour drawing of an interior scene in a bedroom. On the right of the drawing a girl, wearing a white nightdress, stands at a dressing-table in front of an open window and brushes her hair in a mirror. On the left of the drawing another child, dressed, stands on a footstool and looks out of the window. Outside the open window a white sun is rising behind three fir trees. Inside the room, the walls are grey and brown and the curtains cream. On the floor is a rug made out of an animal skin, possibly a rabbit skin. Mounted on card.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


ca.1900 (made)


Hitch, B. (artist)
Nister, Ernest, born 1842 - died 1909 (publisher)

Materials and Techniques

Pen and ink and watercolour on card

Marks and inscriptions

Signed by the artist on the bottom left of the drawing

Bookplate on verso reads: 'From the Library of Anne Renier and F.G. Renier'

Initialled by Anne Renier in ink on verso: 'AR'

Inscribed in ink on verso: 'B. Hitch' and 'Early to bed & early to rise / etc.'

Inscribed in blue crayon on verso: 'XXIX', '12/12' and '24'

Ink stamp on verso reads: 'Ernest Nister / order no. 39670/2'

White and blue decorative label on verso, stamped '8023'


Height: 327 mm Mount, Width: 288 mm Mount

Object history note

Drawn by B. Hitch ca.1900 for 'Bright Eyes Story Book', published by Ernest Nister (no. 2275). Bequeathed to the V&A in 1970 by Anne and Fernand G. Renier as part of the Renier Collection.

Descriptive line

Pen and ink and watercolour drawing by B. Hitch, ca.1900; commissioned by Ernest Nister.


Pen and ink; Watercolour; Card



Subjects depicted

Draw curtains; Dressing tables; Footstools; Bedrooms; Mirrors; Children (people by age group); Rugs; Windows


Drawings; Illustration; National Art Library

Production Type



National Art Library

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