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Touring Georgian London in a Board Game

London/ Board Game/ Popular Culture. HARRIS, J. [London, 1809]
The Panorama Of London, or A Day's Journey round the Metropolis, An Amusing and Instructive Game. . 21 1/2 x 21 inches
With original slip case with elaborately engraved title pasted on, worn but intact; 12 pp. of disbound text with instruction. With full period hand color; dissected & mounted on original linen; soiled, toned, some staining but free of loss; very good of this kind.

   $3,500


A very scarce board game that takes players on a tour of Georgian London via 50 numbered, hand-colored vignettes of the city's sites, both well known and more obscure. Complete with original instructions and slipcase. A panoramic view of London at the center is surrounded by a spiral of individual vignettes, including one depicting Harris' own shop at St. Paul's Churchyard being flocked by eager window shoppers. Also notable are the illustrations of amusements of the day--theatre, puppetry, music and pleasure gardens, circus, an art exhibition, the giants Gog and Magog, etc. Each is described in the text.
The game may be played by any number of people and uses an 8-sided teetotum, a form of a die, marked 1 to 8. Through a series of rewards and forfeits, the players advance around the game board visiting the sights of London, such as the Billingsgate Fish Market, The Tower, Westminster Bridge, Greenwich Hospital, the Corn Exchange and the Parade at St. James's Park, each attractively illustrated and numbered. The word “panorama” was coined in the 18th century to denote a new kind of entertainment, for which one bought a ticket and entered a circular room painted with a 360-degree view of someplace marvelous. Harris' London game is thus a two-dimensional rendition of a panorama in the above sense.
John Harris (1756-1846) was a London bookseller and publisher, principally of children's picture books. He took over the Newberry firm in 1801, and several years later broke from the tradition of that firm and began to publish books that were purely for amusement, along with map-related games that catered to the more affluent end of the market. The company enjoyed considerable success through 1843 when it was sold by Harris' son, also John.


cf. Worms/ Baynton-Williams, London Map Engravers, p. 299.

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