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Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Prince of Prints

This is the time of year when we buy 'annuals', but did you know this custom began (in England) in the early nineteenth century? My latest feature for Jane Austen's Regency World is on Rudolph Ackermann (1764-1834). His Repository of Arts and many other beautifully illustrated works have left us with a peerless window into Regency life, fashion, science and literature. Ackermann also published 'annuals' or 'forget-me-nots', intended as stylish presents for loved ones. This genre was already well known on the Continent, particularly in France and Germany. Annuals were usually highly embellished, and contained poems and short stories. Ackermann’s Forget-Me-Not, or Annual Pocket Chronicle first appeared in the winter of 1822. The Times (19 November 1822) commented: ‘We think Mr Ackermann’s experiment, for taste and variety, quite equal to its foreign rivals.’

Image: Title page of the April 1809 issue of Ackermann’s Repository of Arts.

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