Fotograferede Børnegrupper med tildigtede Riim [i.e. Photographed Groups of Children by Harald Petz Accompanied by Rhymes by H.C. Andersen].

(Copenhagen, 1866).

Small square 8vo. Original brown full cloth with blindstamped borders to boards and gilt lettering to front board. Spine expertly restored. Very well preserved. Six thick cardboard leaves, each with a mounted photograph (measuring 10x10,4 cm) and two lines of text underneath. All leaves with the original tissue guards. A bit of light brownspotting, but overall very nice. 

Exceedingly scarce first edition of the first Danish photographical picture book, "the first children's book in the history of photography to be illustrated with photographs of live subjects posed dramatically" (from the preface to the 2002 facsimile) and the work that initialized the tradition of humanizing animals and objects in photographical children’s books. The work, which is of the utmost importance in both the history of children's books and the history of photography, is extremely rare, with only a few copies known. It is furthermore arguably the scarcest Andersen title of all, only possibly rivalled by the first printing of his first printed book, which is also only known in a few copies. 

Hans Christian Andersen had always been utterly fascinated by the invention of photography and was one of the most photographed authors of his period. At the height of his fame, the 60-year old Andersen became acquainted with the 28-year old Harald Paetz, who had recently opened a photographic studio in Copenhagen, and in 1866, the tow collaborated on this groundbreaking work, the first of its kind, which “represents the first children’s book in the history of photography to be illustrated with photographs of live subjects posed dramatically. An extraordinarily rare book, it remains an astounding and surprising venture between the world-famous writer and an innovative photographer.” (preface to the facsimile).

According to Marie Paetz, (Harold Paetz’ daughter-in-law), the posing children are ballet children from the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen (see Dansk fotografisk Tidsskift 1955, p. 59).

The work played an extremely important role in the history of photographical literature and is a first in several respects.

”The tradition of humanizing animals and objects in photographical children’s books can be traced back to the 1860s, and was initiated by none else than the Danish icon of children’s literature, Hans Christian Andersen (1805–1875). Fotograferede Børnegrupper (Photographs of groups of children; published as facsimile with the title Little Rhymes, Little Photos in 2002) is the first Danish photographical picture book. The photographs were taken by Harald Paetz (1837–95). After a career as an actor at The Royal Theatre, Paetz had in November 1865 established himself as a photographer in Copenhagen. He probably wished to attract customers to his atelier with this little publication and had convinced the then famous Andersen to contribute to it with short poems.” (Mette Kia Krabbe Meyer, Immigrants and Elves The Everyday and the Fantastic in Danish Photographical Children’s Books (in: Fund og Forskning bd. 52, 2013, pp. 252-53).  

Order-nr.: 60333

DKK 160.000,00