See Lions, Buy Books – London Has It All
A handsome London-based table-game from the well-known John Harris. The board is a snail-shell racetrack of fifty stops, arranged widdershins, featuring medallion views of famous landmarks (and some of the less well-known sights of the city), around which the players race their markers – the moves determined by a teetotum.
The accompanying rule-book notes the fines: two counters duty at the Custom House, one to see the lions at the Tower, others to finance the House Of Commons and the Bank of England, two to encourage the artists at Somerset House, three for being seen in the ‘riotous assembly’ of the Covent Garden Election, etc. As well as forfeits, there were also bonus counters to be had: a counter from each player at the Royal Exchange, two counters from each player from a win on the Lottery. Never wanting in self promotion, Harris has included his own shop in the game: ‘stop one turn, and receive a counter from each player, to purchase a new game, or an instructive book, as your fancy may direct’.
Condition & Materials
Copper etching and line engraving, 53 x 55.5 cm, original hand colour, dissected into 12 panels and laid on linen, imprint trimmed at foot, some light creasing but a bright, fairly clean example; folding into slightly worn original slipcase with elaborate hand-coloured publisher’s label and with Harris’ 1809 dated imprint (title on a shield, crest and shield from the City arms above and below, flanked by Gog and Magog and with the dome of St Paul’s rising in the distance); together with original 15 page booklet, ‘Rules and directions for playing the game Panorama of London’, also dated 1809, stitched in original plain wrappers with printed label on upper cover, a little worn; on the inside cover is an old pencilled note, partially illegible (‘Please to ask your Brother to make the… for I have not time before the Coach goes’).
The game appears on Worldcat with 7 OCLC numbers, which appear to relate to 9 institutional examples, mostly in North America (the only UK example is in the British Library).