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'Sixteen songs for six pence'

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (published)

  • Date:

    ca.1920 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Fraser, Claud Lovat, born 1890 - died 1921 (artist)
    Poetry Bookshop (publisher)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    chromolithograph on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Claud Lovat Fraser (1890-1921) was an English artist, designer and author. An authority on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century ballad sheets and broadsides, Fraser teamed up with Holbrook Jackson and the poet Ralph Hodgson Lovat Fraser in 1913 to establish a small publishing firm, The Sign of the Flying Fame. The firm aimed to make poetry more accessible to the general public by producing decorative poetry broadsides and chapbooks at an affordable price. Fraser was particularly interested in the interplay between text and illustration and incorporated both elements inseparably in his designs. After the war, Fraser produced designs for Harold Munro's Poetry Bookshop and for the Curwen Press.

The Poetry Bookshop, 35 Devonshire Street, Theobalds Road, London, ran from 1913 to 1926 and sold and published poetry by living artists. Among the works published by the Poetry Bookshop was Ezra Pound's seminal 1914 anthology Des Imagistes. Customers were encouraged to browse, and several poets took up residence there, including Wilfred Wilson Gibson and Robert Frost. The shop's best-sellers were hand-coloured rhyme sheets for children, such as this nursery sheet designed by Claud Lovat Fraser, incorporating popular nursery rhymes such as 'Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?', 'Jack be nimble, Jack be quick' and 'Jack Sprat could eat no fat'.

Physical description

Chromolithograph on paper in black and green ink. Grid of sixteen squares, each square with a short poem and accompanying image. With title and series title at the top and publishing information printed at the bottom.

Place of Origin

London (published)


ca.1920 (published)


Fraser, Claud Lovat, born 1890 - died 1921 (artist)
Poetry Bookshop (publisher)

Materials and Techniques

chromolithograph on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Pencil initials of Anne Renier on verso

Pencil acquisition note by Anne Renier on verso


Height: 415 mm Whole, Width: 268 mm Whole

Object history note

Designed by Claud Lovat Fraser and published by The Poetry Bookshop ca.1920. Bequeathed to the V&A in 1970 by Anne and Fernand G. Renier as part of the Renier Collection.

Descriptive line

Chromolithograph, 'Sixteen songs for six pence' (Nursery Sheet no.1), designed by Claud Lovat Fraser and published by The Poetry Bookshop, ca.1920.


Paper (fiber product); Printing ink



Subjects depicted

Nursery rhymes; Poetry


Prints; Children & Childhood; National Art Library

Production Type

Mass produced


National Art Library

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