Maggie’s ABC book

Made by Harrison, William in Australia, Oceania, 1894.

This hand-drawn children’s alphabet book features delightful pen, ink and water colour drawings and was made in 1894 by 30-year-old William Harrison. (William went on to be an Art Director and later Advertising Manager for the Australian firm of Wunderlich, famous makers of terracotta roof tiles and stamped metal ceilings).

The ABC book was made for Harrison’s young niece, Maggie Harrison, who lived near Bath in England. It includes a clever combination of British and Australian images such as ...


This hand-drawn and hand-coloured children's alphabet features pen and ink and water colour drawings. The book is cloth bound with the inscription on the cover : ABC Maggie Harrison 1894. Inside front cover is inscription : Miss Maggie Harrison Argyle Terrace Twerton on Avon England Bath. On facing page is globe showing England at top and Australia at bottom with ribbon with inscription : Maggie from Uncle Will 1894. British and Australian coat of arms have been drawn at opposite corners. The title page has inscription : Maggie's ABC.

Inside each page has a hand-drawn and coloured letter of the alphabet with accompanying illustration. Thus A : Apple, Ant, Australia has drawing of apple orchard and apples with tiny ants in the foreground. Australian/British themes are preserved throughout. After the alphabet comes a clock surrounded by examples of colours, numbers from 1 to 12, the alphabet in upper case, the alphabet in lower case, the months of the year and directions on a compass and finally 'Evening Prayer'. The last page illustrates a collection of children's toys including Noah's Ark, a boat and sailor doll, ball and doll.


102 mm
155 mm
10 mm


The alphabet book was drawn by William Harrison (1864-1923) when he was 30 years of age for his English niece, Maggie Harrison, of Twerton on Avon, near Bath, in the County of Avon. William Harrison was born in England in about 1864 and arrived in Australia as a young man. He began his working career with the Melbourne furniture supplier, W H Rocke & Co Ltd of 247-249 Collins Street. In 1889 the Wunderlich brothers had sold their patent rights for pressed metal ceilings to this firm only to purchase it back again in 1893. The company merged with Wunderlich in 1908 and became Wunderlich Ltd. By 1904 Harrison had been transferred to Sydney with Wunderlich. He spent the rest of his working life with the firm and rose to become an Art Director and later Advertising Manager before he died in 1923 at the age of 59 years.
Harrison, William 1894


Gift of Miss Helena Harrison, 1997
12 May, 1997

Cite this Object

Maggie's ABC book 2016, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 20 November 2017, <>
{{cite web |url= |title=Maggie's ABC book |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=20 November 2017 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
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