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'Weighing doggie'

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    ca.1900 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Petherick, Rosa C. (artist)
    Nister, Ernest, born 1842 - died 1909 (publisher)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    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, Lizzie Lawson, Harriett M. Bennett, Edith A. Cubitt and Rosa Petherick.

This illustration by Rosa C. Petherick accompanies a story entitled 'The Weighing Shop' by Ethel Dawson in Bright Eyes Story Book (no. 2275), published in London by Ernest Nister and in New York by E.P. Dutton & Co., ca.1900.

The illustration includes a golliwog doll. The original golliwog was a central character in a series of books by Bertha and Florence Upton published between 1895 and 1909. The doll the character was based on was influenced by the Blackface performance tradition, and as such evolved from a performance tradition grounded in racism. While from the late 19th century until the 1960s the golliwog flourished as a toy, its popularity began to wane in the 1970s as many British people felt that it promoted racial stereotypes.

Physical description

Watercolour drawing on stiff card depicting an interior scene of a group of children weighing dogs. A boy wearing green and a girl wearing blue weigh a little white puppy on a set of scales on a table top. Beside the table a younger girl in white and green holds a doll in her left arm. Another puppy sits in a basket on the floor whilst a larger dog stands on its hind legs and places its front legs on the table. With a red carpet and pale yellow walls. Partial view of a window in the background with floral curtains, a potted geranium, ball and book entitled 'My Pussy'. Apple on the tree outside the window. On the floor by the window is a golliwog doll (please see summary for explanation of the term 'golliwog'). A sign on the table reads: 'HARRY JONES / WAYS / ANIMALS AND / TOYS'. Mounted on card.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


ca.1900 (made)


Petherick, Rosa C. (artist)
Nister, Ernest, born 1842 - died 1909 (publisher)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour on card

Marks and inscriptions

Inscribed by the artist in bottom right corner

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

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

Inscribed in blue crayon on verso: '12/12', '11030', '15' and 'R.C. Petherick'

Ink stamp on verso reads: 'Ernest Nister / Order no. 42085a/8'

Partial stamp on verso of card: 'Winsor & [Newton] / "Phil May" Dr[awing Board?]'


Height: 364 mm Mount, Width: 305 mm Mount

Object history note

Drawn by Rosa C. Petherick ca.1900 for Ernest Nister. Bequeathed to the V&A in 1970 by Anne and Fernand G. Renier as part of the Renier Collection

Descriptive line

Watercolour drawing by Rosa C. Petherick, ca.1900; commissioned by Ernest Nister.


Watercolour; Card



Subjects depicted

Tables (support furniture); Golliwogs; Girls; Geraniums (flowers); Dogs (animals); Curtains; Apples; Dolls; Play; Scales (weighing devices); Boys; Toys (recreational artifacts)


Drawings; Illustration; Books; Children & Childhood; National Art Library

Production Type



National Art Library

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