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Games for Research: Children at play

The John Johnson Collection contains many games and has recently been considerably enriched by the donation by Richard Ballam of his collection of games and pastimes. This guide explores the relevance of games to academic research.

A writing blank

School piece from the Opie Collecton, called Infantile Sports

This writing blank or school piece shows outdoor games. Prints of these are more common than those showing indoor games.

Opie II (49)


Images of children at play

Images of children playing indoor games are rare. This is a selection from box lids and slip cases in Richard Ballam's Collection.

The Little Historian (top left) shows Queen Victoria and Prince Albert with the Princess Royal and the Prince of Wales

Box lid of The Little Historian, showing Queen Victoria and Prince Albert playing the game with their childrenBox lid of Quartetts of the Royal Family of England (Barfoot)

Box of Spelling Cubes, showing children playing under the supervision of an adult


Slip case of Sallis's Illustrated Game of Dr. Busby, showing children playing game, around 1850

Subject Guide

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Julie Anne Lambert
John Johnson Collection
Bodleian Libraries
Broad Street
+44 (0)1865 277047