A Tour Through Their History: S. Louis Giraud

World War I ended the golden age of movable books. The contribution of German artists, which was so prominent in previous century, came to a halt. The English and Americans lacked the print shops and skilled labor necessary to create the fine chromolithography of the Germans. As a result, movable books declined in quality and quantity.

Movables experienced a renaissance in the 1930s and 1940s, thanks to S. Louis Giraud in London. While editor of children’s books for the newspaper, Daily Express, Giraud designed and produced a pop-up annual by the same name. After he left the newspaper, he continued the series under the title Bookano Stories. From 1929 to 1949, Giraud produced sixteen annuals using the name Strand Publications and Bookano Stories. His books were referred to as “living models” because each scene unfolded in a double-page spread, which was designed to be viewed from multiple angles, much like many modern pop-up books. An added attraction was that the actions appeared to continue after the page was opened. A good example of this is from the Daily Express annual for 1930. A circus clown magically swings around a bar.

Unlike the early German masterpieces, which were very expensive, Giraud created and sold his annuals for modest prices. He used a photolitho printing process, which lacked the detail and refinement of German chromolithography. However, his productions are appealing for their bright colors and originality, and are very collectible in today’s market.

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