Prints started to play an increasingly important role

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Prints started to play an increasingly important role in educational contexts in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, as documented in Jill Shefrin s meticulous account of material produced by the industry in printed teaching aids ( 2009 , 3). When Samuel Wilderspin, one of the driving forces behind infant school education of the 1820s, introduced pictures into his classroom and convinced the 54 E. O SULLIVAN
publisher William Darton Jr. to start issuing lessons or educational prints for infant schools (102), education took what we would today call a pictorial turn. 5 L EARNING G EOGRAPHY WITH THE R UDIMENT B OX One of the new educational aids Darton issued between 1830 and 1834 was the Rudiment Box, also known as the Drawing Room Mine, an elaborate novelty that offered an entire curriculum in a box, largely through pictures (Shefrin 2009 , 106). Intended for use by a teacher with a large class of pupils or in a private nursery, the painted wooden box measured approximately 60 cm × 60 cm × 25 cm, with hinged, glass- paneled doors front and back, and contained fi fty-three hand-colored prints pasted onto rolled-up linen strips. When the teacher turned a crank rather like an old gramophone handle (Lawrence Darton quoted in Coghlan and O Connor 2009 , 93), a roll of prints passed behind each window. Some of the prints on the rolls date from the early 1820s (ibid.); others were issued simultaneously with the box, and many were advertised else- where for separate sale. In 1834 the Liberty Infant School in Dublin, where the box was possibly fi rst implemented, issued a thirty-two-page pamphlet, Introductory Lectures to the Subjects in the Rudiment Box , for teachers to use with the prints. 6 The purpose and use of the box are explained, and scripts are provided for lessons on Geography, Agriculture, ” “ Natural History, ” “ Manufactures, ” “ Trades, ” “ Figures, Astronomy, ” “ Geometry, ” “ Grammar, and Miscellaneous (Anon. 1834 , 32). The script for geography, the subject in which the concept of foreign nations is usually introduced, underscores what Valerie Coghlan and Geraldine O Connor ( 2009 , 95) identify as the desire to engage pupils and to enliven the educational experience evidenced by the rolls: CHILDREN, As you all seem to think that you had rather be industrious, useful characters, than idle and vicious, I hope you will pay attention to a little instruction. We will choose Geography for our subject. . . . Kingdoms, or countries, are often inhabited by people of very different characters; some are very sober and industrious, and spend their time in cultivating their land, taking care to enrich it with good manure, and clear it of great stones and weeds; which makes it produce such good crops, that PICTURING THE WORLD FOR CHILDREN: EARLY NINETEENTH-CENTURY . . .

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