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Game of Four and Twenty Blackbirds

Object Name: Fishing game
Date: 1908
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Medium: Cardboard, paper, wood, tin, thread
Dimensions: Container (box): 3 1/4 x 18 3/4 x 20 3/4 in. (8.3 x 47.6 x 52.7 cm)
Place made: North America, United States, New York
Description: "Four and Twenty Blackbirds" tabletop fishing game in box with one "fishing" pole with a pair of embossed tin wings which are hinged in the center and four wingless paper black birds; board set into the bottom of the box decorated with the image of a pie in the center surrounded by a floral border; twenty-four slots are cut into the pie; corners of board inscribed, "Sing a song of six-pence/ A pocket full of rye;/ Four-and-twenty black birds/ Baked in a pie./ Was not that a dainty dish/ To set befor the king?/ When the pie was opened,/ the birds began to sing.;" slot next to the board holds all the accesories; box cover printed with an image of a pie stuffed with blackbirds surrounded by a floral border; box inscribed, "Game of/ FOUR AND TWENTY BLACKBIRDS/ McLOUGHLIN BROS. * NEW YORK."
Credit Line: The Liman Collection
Object Number: 2000.466
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Marks: printed: in the corners of board: "Sing a song of six-pence/ A pocket full of rye;/ Four-and-twenty black birds/ Baked in a pie./ Was not that a dainty dish/ To set befor the king?/ When the pie was opened,/ the birds began to sing." printed: on the box cover: "Game of/ FOUR AND TWENTY BLACKBIRDS/ McLOUGHLIN BROS. * NEW YORK."

Gallery Label:

Four and Twenty Blackbirds, inspired by the Mother Goose rhyme, calls on the dexterity of players to hook a pair of metal wings on a rod, catch the blackbirds poking out of the pie, and remove them one by one without letting them fall. A variation of Fish Pond produced in smaller numbers, Four and Twenty Blackbirds is now a rare collector's item.

Bibliography:

Hofer, Margaret K. "The Games We Played: The Golden Age of Board & Table Games." New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2003.

Exhibitions:

"The Games We Played: Victorian Games from the Liman Collection," New-York Historical Society, December 4, 2001-March 24, 2002.