Historical information

Birthday books are used to record the names and birth dates of friends and relatives. This one has a quote from Charles Dickens for each day of the year .The Dickins Birthday book was chosen a a gift to Clara Skirrow, given on January 19th 1911 by Mr and Mrs B Watson.

The artist, Pilford Fletcher Watson (1892-1907) was a well established and prominent artist. He was born in London and lived in Sydney, a foundation member of the Australian Academy of Arts in 1887. His works included local scenery, architecture and the interiors of historic buildings. Many of his works were bequeathed to the State Library of New South Wales.

The firm Raphael Tuck & Sons Ltd,, was a printer and publisher that operated in London from 1866 to circa 1960s. Its logo is the artist's easel, palette and brush. In 1960 the firm amalgamated with others to become the British Printing Corporation c. 1960.

The fly page states that Ralph Tuck & Sons, Ltd. were publishers to Their Majesties, the King and Queen, and Their Royal Highnesses, the Prince and Princess of Wales. This would mean that this book was published in the period when King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, and Prince George and his wife Princess Mary were able to use these titles, that is, from 1901 to 1910.


This early 20th-century Birthday Book is significant for containing quotes by the famous writer Charles Dickins. It is also significant for being illustrated by renowned artist Pilford Fletcher Watson.
Ownership of a rare and beautifully presented book like this indicates the value placed on keeping in touch with friends and family in the early 1900s. Charles Dickins Birthday books were published by the same firm, with a similar layout.

Physical description

Book, The Dickens Birthday Book; with 6 illustrations in Colour by P. Fletcher-Watson
Publisher: Raphael Tuck & Sons Ltd
Printed in England 1901-1910
Artist: P. Fletcher-Watson
This padded red leather hardcover book has embossed gold text on front cover and spine. . The six colour illustrations throughout the book were by artist P. Fletcher-Watson; one is a portrait of Dickins. Each date of the year has a quotes from Charles Dickens' works and blank lines below. The drawing on the fly page depicts a stone building with side pillars and a logo in the centre of the horizontal beam. It has a gift inscription for Clara Skirrow on January 19th, 1911. There are several handwritten entries with names and years.

Inscriptions & markings

Handwritten in black ink: "From Mr & Mrs B. Watson / To Clara Skirrow / With Best wishes / January 19th 1911"
Illustration on fly page: Logo [artist's palette, brush and easel]
Handwritten entries of names and dates