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Send in the Clowns

The falshood of External AppearancesThe first week of August is National Clown week. The Libraries ran a post last year about harlequinades, which are featured in its current exhibition, Paper Engineering: Fold, Pull, Pop & Turn.

Harlequinades or pantomime books, in which each lifted flap changes the picture or reveals a new twist in the plot, are a form of flap mechanism. Flaps may be cut into the shape of the illustration.

From the post:

. . . often
Harlequinades featured the adventures of a clown or harlequin and were often written
to teach a moral.

A great example of a harlequinade was this new acquisition featured on our companion blog to the exhibition, Fold, Pull, Pop & Turn, The Falshood of External Appearances, printed in England, ca. 1790.

If you are in Washington, D.C., be sure to check out this wonderful show that includes harlequinades, pop-ups, and other examples of paper engineering. It will be on display at the National Museum of American History through September 1, 2011.

Elizabeth Periale

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