Georgian and Victorian Board Games: The Liman Collection

By Pointed Leaf Press

November 2017
ISBN: 978-1-938461-43-9
182 Pages/Over 150 Illustrations

$65 USD

Comic Game of the Great Exhibition of 1851, 25 × 19½ inches. Published by William Spooner, London, 1851. This game illustrated objects included in or views of the exhibition at the Crystal Palace, the temporary structure where the show was held in London, England.

The center scene on Every Man to His Station illustrates a group of young boys around a table playing a board game. Most often, children and families played these games by candlelight.

European Travellers, an Instructive Game, 26 × 20 inches. Published by Edward Wallis, date unknown. Sailing the Arctic Sea (1–8) to the European coast and countries illustrated with their landscapes and landmarks, the trip ended in England, as players moved clockwise on a beautiful map. Advertisements were included along the bottom edge for Wallis’s other games: “Also Games of the Produce of England— the United States—South America—on a similar plan.”

(A detail of) The New Game of Multiplication Table, 18¾ × 15 inches. Published by D. Carvalho, date unknown. This game has an unusual format as it is not a race game but more of a visual quiz.

Wallis’s Elegant and Instructive Game exhibiting the Wonders of Art, in Each Quarter of the World, 25 × 18½ inches. Published by Edward Wallis, London, about 1820. Similar to the Wonders of Nature game in design and also published by Edward Wallis, this game teaches, through play and the detailed accompanying instruction booklet, a great deal about the important monuments of the world. They include #8: The Leaning Tower of Pisa; #3: Stonehenge; and #25: The Sphinx and Pyramids.


As the turn from the 18th to the 19th century approached in Great Britain, more and more parents and teachers embraced a suggestion from the philosopher John Locke that “learning might be made a play and recreation to children.” Georgian and Victorian Board Games: The Liman Collection includes the most beautiful and rare games of the time collected by Arthur Liman. Showcasing 50 games that were made for both instruction and delight, the book reflects on a transatlantic market that flourished into and through the 19th century. Although games were often printed on linen or board instead of delicate paper, many fell apart due to enthusiastic use. But those that survived open a window onto the time period in which they were created, reflecting its social and moral priorities as well as a wide range of educational subjects. Georgian and Victorian Board Games: The Liman Collection will appeal to both experts and people who will discover this unusual art form for the first time. The oversize format allows for a close inspection and reading of the wonderfully imaginative and interesting information on the museum-quality game boards while reproductions of some of the pages from the detailed instruction booklets allow for an even deeper look into the games and how they were played. The games themselves are beautifully detailed—produced by a handful of the best-known publishers of the era, the hand-color engraved games look as vibrant and colorful as they did two centuries ago. Also included in the lavishly produced book are five gatefolds that illustrate the games and their complete instructions and rules so as to allow modern readers to try their hand at these fascinating and historic games.

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