On submitting to an enlightened Public a new, elegant, and instructive amusement for Children, we have first to account for its name. We are aware that the term Plastics is generally confined to the modelling of sculptors and statuaries in gypsum, day, wax, &c. But as the art of making cork models of architectural monuments on a small scale, has obtained on the Continent the appellation of Phelboplastics, from the Greek word p/XXo?, cork; we think ourselves warranted by this analogy in denominating the art of modelling in paper Papyro plastics.
This ingenious art is calculated to intro¬duce children to the most common and prac¬tical applications of geometry, in a way which occupies their' hands, and thus en¬forces their attention, without any particular effort of their thinking powers. By a law of our nature, our curiosity, in our earlier years, is preferably directed to palpable ob¬jects. Abstraction is an exertion of the mind, which is irksome even to a great many grown up persons ; and children can hardly be induced to exercise it, because they can¬not form an idea of the advantages resulting from that faculty. This love of reality is likewise the characteristic of the infancy of nations. The Greeks had clever statuaries long before they had able painters. The sculptor represents the object as it is, with all its angles and rotundities ; his works are real representations, they may be touched and handled, whilst those of the painter are mere illusions, which vanish, as it were, at the touch. Complete figures, by which both the senses of seeing and feeling are gratified, satisfy the infant mind better than bare out¬lines ; and the study of mathematics is likely # to be prosecuted with more ardour after young persons have previously amused them¬selves with converting quadrangles and pa¬rallelograms into tables, chairs, houses, churches, bridges, and ships.
But, independently of the mathematical studies for which it prepares the youthful mind, Papyroplastics, or the art of model¬ling in paper, has the additional advantage of teaching manual dexterity and the knowledge
of proportions of imparting a taste for the arts of design, and* above all* of affording a salutary antidote to that listless indolence, that pernicious love of cards, or that rage of indiscriminately reading any book at random, which are unfortunately tolerated in many respectable families during the long winter evenings, and which are alike unfavourable to the comfort and to the best interests of young persons, as they greatly tend to ob¬struct them on their road to duty and hap¬piness.
Preface to the second edition.
The approbation which this little Essay on Papyro-Plastics has met with, has been so general, that the first edition was sold in a few months. To render the work still-more deserving of the patronage of an enlightened public, and to insure its constant success, great pains have been taken to enlarge, im¬prove, and correct it. Many of the flat paper figures having been found rather in¬correct upon trial, they have all been re-drawn after models furnished by an intelli¬gent correspondent, to whom we readily pay the tribute of our best thanks. The ANCIENT TOWER, which faces the title page, has been coloured, to give young artists some idea how to proceed in colouring; and the Plates have been increased in number, to furnish students with additional objects for modelling, all from the same ingenious Correspondent, who has corrected the paper figures of the original models.