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'Cheap Labour'

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    ca.1900 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Thompson, G. H. (artist)
    Nister, Ernest, born 1842 - died 1909 (publisher)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and ink 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.

Physical description

Pen and ink drawing of a scene at a railway station. In the foreground a woman wearing glasses and holding a bag and umbrella follows a small boy who carries her luggage. A little dog watches on the right and two men watch on the left. Behind the woman the train stands in the station. There are people on the platform in the background. On the other side of the railway track is another platform with a booking office and a sign: 'MUGSBY'.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


ca.1900 (made)


Thompson, G. H. (artist)
Nister, Ernest, born 1842 - died 1909 (publisher)

Materials and Techniques

Pen and ink on card

Marks and inscriptions

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

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

Signed by the artist in bottom left corner: 'G H Thompson'

Ink stamp on verso reads: 'Ernest Nister / Order No. 43320 / 11 / Use: Off for the Holidays'

Inscribed in pencil by Anne Renier on verso: 'Thompson'


Height: 230 mm Mount, Width: 288 mm Mount

Object history note

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

Descriptive line

Pen and ink drawing by G. H. Thompson, ca. 1900; produced for Ernest Nister.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Reproduced in 'The Renier Collection of Historic and Contemporary Children's Books. Occasional List no. 8 : Ernest Nister' (Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood, Autumn 1990), p.46.


Pen and ink; Card



Subjects depicted

Coaches (railroad cars); Railways; Trolley (luggage); Travel; Dogs (animals); People; Umbrellas; Railway buildings; Tracks; Handbags; Smoke; Spectacles; Trains (vehicle groupings); Women; Platforms; Railway stations; Ticket offices; Boys; Luggage; Holidays


Drawings; Illustration; Books; National Art Library

Production Type



National Art Library

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