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'Cat-echising the inattentive scholar'

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    ca.1890 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour on paper

  • 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 Harriett M. Bennett, Edith A. Cubitt and Rosa Petherick.

Physical description

Pen and ink and watercolour drawing on paper pasted onto card with a double rule border. The drawing depicts a young girl instructing her cat. The girl, wearing a blue dress with a straw hat hanging down her back, sits in the garden and holds a book open in her lap. In front of her the cat sits on a low stool, facing away from her. On the ground lies a doll. In the background is the house and part of the garden fence. The title is written on the card mount: 'CAT-ECHISING The inattentive scholar'.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


ca.1890 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour on paper

Marks and inscriptions

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

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

Initialled by the artist 'C.M.' in bottom right corner


Height: 295 mm Mount, Width: 252 mm Mount

Object history note

Drawn ca.1890 by C.M. Bequeathed to the V&A in 1970 by Anne and Fernand G. Renier as part of the Renier Collection


Watercolour; Paper (fiber product)



Subjects depicted

Teaching; Stools; Buildings; Students; Cats; Play; Houses; Picket fences; Dolls; Girls; Teachers


Drawings; Illustration; Children & Childhood; National Art Library

Production Type



National Art Library

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