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Illustration Art, Mother Goose ABC, Children’s Book, Richard Andre, Antique Drawing, 1890


Richard André (1834-1907)
Through the Alphabet
Illustration for Mother Goose ABC
English: 1890
Pen and ink, watercolor, and gouache on paper, mounted on card
Signed lower right with monogram initials R.A. and dated 1890
7 x 9 inches, image
10.5 x 8.5 inches, as mounted

A fine and dynamic late Victorian Mother Goose alphabet illustration by the popular children’s book illustrator Richard Andre. This is the original artwork, dated 1890, for the final page of the book Mother Goose ABC (New York: McLoughlin Bros., 1891) which André illustrated in its entirety. Above the text “Through the Alphabet” it shows Mother Goose as a circus performer on horseback literally bursting through letters of the alphabet painted on a huge paper hoop as if she is making a grand entrance to the circus ring.

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In this colorful and whimsical scene, Mother Goose is accompanied by four geese, three in clown costumes decorated with letters, and wearing conical caps. Two of the geese hold the hoop on either side, one standing on a stool shaped like the letter A, the other on a ledge along the ringside wall. Another goose, dressed as a ringmaster in boots and riding costume, holds a whip. The published illustration as translated from the watercolor original to chromolithograph differs only slightly, with some simplification of the horse’s mane and bridle and minor modifications to the shading on the ground.

Richard André was a prolific English illustrator of children’s books in the late 19th century for the likewise prolific American book and games publisher McLoughlin Bros. of New York, as well as for other publishers in his native England. Born William Roger Snow, he spent the first 20 years of his career in the British Army through which he traveled the world. He began exhibiting paintings in the 1860s and by the early 1870s was publishing one-act plays. His army career ended in 1875 when he abandoned his wife; threatened with transfer by the military he went AWOL and adopted the alias Clifford Merton, under which he illustrated both adult and children’s literature. His abandoned wife learned of his whereabouts around 1880 and they divorced, after which he once again relocated and changed his name, this time to Richard André. He illustrated as many as 100 books in the 1880s and early 1890s, including many children’s books for the Society for Christian Knowledge in London and for the publishers McLoughlin Bros. in New York. André branched out into photography and the printing industry, and retired in the mid-1890s as a successful businessman, living thereafter in Hertfordshire, Great Britain.

Condition: Illustration very good with the usual overall light toning and wear. Mounted on card, probably as issued, the card slightly acidic but apparently stable and not affecting the illustration, and with some toning, wear, scattered stray marks, residue of tape, glue, and other discolorations — all can be matted out when framed.


“André, R (Richard), 1834-1907, creator.” University of Florida Digital Collections. (12 May 2020).

“Mother Goose ABC.” University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries. (12 May 2020).

“Richard André Papers.” University of Southern Mississippi. (12 May 2020).

Additional information


19th Century