Hans Christian Andersen: Unique picture book made by Hans Christian Andersen. Copenhagen 1868–1869.


Unique picture book made by Hans Christian Andersen. Copenhagen 1868–1869. 92 leaves /184 pages. 4to. (c. 20×16,5 cm). With orig. autographed birthday letter signed by Andersen. Dated Basnæs, June 26, 1869. Autographed text throughout 168 pages. The book is decorated by Andersen throughout with more than 250 clippings made of collage material from picture books, newspapers, printed satirical drawings, illustrated travelogues, theater posters, stamps, engravings, photography, etc. Moreover 25 orig. paper cuts in coloured paper and various sizes (largest: c. 16,5×16, 5 cm, smallest: c. 2,5×2,5 cm). Enclosed Danish, typewritten transcript. Bound in half cloth by Hans Christian Andersen himself. Housed in later morocco box with embroidery on the front.

Reference: Det Danske Sprog- og Litteraturselskab (publ.): Dagbøger I-XII. Cph, 1971–1976. + P. Nansen.: “5 Blade af H.C. Andersens utrykte Børnebog” in: Af Dagens Krønike. [No year]. + K. Hvidt: Det mousserende element. Cph 2016. + M. Henriques: “Om lille Maries Billedbog” [af H. C. Andersen]. Sign. NKS 1922.2o.

In the fall of 1868, Hans Christian Andersen spent several days or perhaps even weeks in seclusion. During this time he eagerly wrote, cut and pasted. The result was a stunningly illustrated, fantastic 184-pages travel book, which he gave to a little girl named Marie on her 3rd birthday in 1869. In his diary Andersen wrote: “Began on a picture book for little Marie Henriques. I am cutting and gluing until late at night,” and a few days later: ”[...] Pasting every day. At the Melchior and Henriques homes the grownups are very intrigued by the picture book for little Marie." (The diaries, 21–23 December 1868).

The lucky recipient, Marie Henriques (1866–1944), was the daughter of the stockbroker couple Martin and Therese Henriques, whose home was frequented by a large number of Danish and foreign artists and musicians such as Niels W. Gade, I.P.E. Hartmann, Edvard Grieg, August Bournonville, and more. Marie was the family's lovely straggler, and she was so dear to Andersen's heart that he for several years called her his ”dearest”. In the Henriques family, the poet was affectionately referred to as “Anders”. In the birthday letter that accompanied the picture book Andersen also wrote: “[...] Your mother read it for you, she is your best friend, your second friend is your father, your third is Andersen.” (26 June, 1869)

The story, which Andersen wrote, is about the little Marie’s Grand Tour around the world together with her trusty but strict nanny Sidse. Full of verses and comments and a host of colourful illustrations he created a spectacular visual universe where imagination and emotions are set in motion. Marie and Sidse encounter all sorts of people and travel through many countries all over the world, but of course Marie ends up at home with her parents as “an adorable rosebud”: “Initially, Marie does not want to go to Rome, her aspirations are much higher, and she wants to begin at the North Pole and see the splendid Northern Lights, if the experience leaves her too cold, she will immediately head down to warmer countries. It is a long way for two solitary ladies. Sidse therefore dresses as a watchman to safeguard little Marie”.

Marie Henriques’ picture book is one of the most meticulously made by Andersen on his own, particularly because the text is one long story. The illustrations were intended to make the reader fantasize and wonder, and together with the text the images create a journey through life with small, amusing educational episodes that contain many references both to Andersen, the many contemporary luminaries he associated with and not least his own famous fairy tales and poetry: “When Marie is in Frederiksberg she also wants to go to “Gurre”. Sidse sings: ”I think the most wonderful place is in Denmark,“ “– that song was written by Anders,” says Marie and becomes contemplative, ”he wrote it before I came up with the stork from Egypt, me a child of the East! The poets are always ahead of the rest of us!"

During the latter part of his life between 1850–1870, H.C. Andersen created several famous picture books, including Christine and Astrid Stampe's picture books, which he made with his good friend Adolph Drewsen. Today, 19 different books are known to exist of which Andersen made nine himself and the rest in collaboration with people such as Drewsen and Mathilde Ørsted. Marie Henriques’ picture book is among the nine that Andersen made himself, and it was never published. The book has never been offered for sale and is the last picture book of its kind in private ownership.

As an adult Marie became a painter taught by among others Frants Henningsen and Viggo Johansen. She was just like Andersen travelling a lot and she visited many of the countries Andersen mentions in the picture book. She was a co founder of the Danish institution, Kvindelige Kunstneres Samfund.

Provenance: Descendants of The Henriques' family.


The book is in good condition. Minor spots, soiling and wear due to age and use. Spine rebacked with the orig. cloth. Minor repairs/reinforcements to edges and corners throughout the book. A few leaves with frayed edges and minor cracks and tears. One leaf loose. Some pages with blurred text, probably due to glue.

For further condition report, please contact fine-art@bruun-rasmussen.dk


Paintings & drawings, 30 May 2017


Books & manuscripts


Hans Christian Andersen (b. Odense 1805, d. Copenhagen 1875)


1,000,000–1,500,000 kr.


Price realised

2,900,000 kr.