Edition of 2,000 copies
4.45″ x 7″ closed
38″ x 7″ fully extended
Cockney rhyming slang has been around in East London and beyond from Victorian times. Whether or not it served as secret speech to confuse outsiders may never be known. That it displays a playful love of language is certain. New terms, often connected to celebrities, may be found in online dictionaries.
The two volumes in this series each introduce six words in cockney rhyming slang, defined within a rhyming couplet, and illustrated in watercolor. Every image is a composite of Victorian ephemera: card games, cut-outs, fashion plates, tourist items and early children’s books printed in the mid-19th century. The original sources, all in the author’s collection, show the startling range in quality of early color illustrations, from crude hand-coloring with stencils to exquisitely printed chromolithography.