HCA NEWS Great acclaim for Astrid Stampe's Picture Book

The latest Hans Christian Andersen publication from Odense City Museums, Astrid Stampe's Picture Book, was received with enthusiasm and high marks from Danish reviewers.

By Mikkel Stjernberg - H.C. Andersen 2005 - 02 May 2003

Danish book reviewers gave the publication of "Astrid Stampes Billedbog" ["Astrid Stampe's Picture Book"] a standing ovation. The newspaper Børsen, for example, called it "a highly original picture book, but also an educational book of the highest quality, chockfull of cultural history...".

Something that pleases museum keeper for Odense City Museums, Karsten Eskildsen, quite a bit, since he edited the book - an experience that was an education for him as well.

"Purchasers of the book have an advantage over reviewers - namely, they have time to become more intimate with it, and this is something the book requires. It takes time to assimilate it. The more you have it in your hands, the greater pleasure you derive from it. The contents are quite simply of such a caliber that there is always something more to get out of it. Even for me, there have been "aha" experiences after publication. Things about Hans Christian Andersen I suddenly understand better," says Karsten Eskildsen.

He calls the book an "illustrated version of Hans Christian Andersen's interest in the world and the people around him" and adds that the book is an edification process for the reader. Not merely about Hans Christian Andersen but about life itself, because the book communicates Hans Christian Andersen's view of life in a way that cannot help but influence the reader.

Masters of the Picture Book
"Astrid Stampes Billedbog" is a facsimile edition of the original, which was purchased by Odense City Museums in 1998 for 3.5 million Danish crowns. The book contains paper cutouts and poems by Hans Christian Andersen, which were collected by his close friend Adolf Drewsen, who gave the book to his grandchild Astrid on her first birthday, 19 December 1853.

Hans Christian Andersen and Adolf Drewsen were crazy about picture books and met regularly to cut out and paste things. They also collected clippings from illustrated pamphlets, newspapers and periodicals, and "Astrid Stampes Billedbog" has a rich complement of them.

The Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation has provided DKK 150,000 to put out Danish and English editions of the book. Here, too, the enthusiasm of the reviewers has been received with a big smile.

"It is both an honor and a pleasure to have provided support for the book, because it demonstrates quite clearly Hans Christian Andersen's artistic gifts and the tremendous imagination with which he expressed himself in this field. At the same time, the book is an important contribution towards illuminating Hans Christian Andersen as a person, which we are also interested in providing to the world with this project," says Secretary General Lars Seeberg.