Orbis Pictus

Orbis Pictus (The Visible World) by John Comenius (published in 1658) 

Introduced by Bev and Trevor Lloyd at The Bindery Shop, Ludlow with Emma Balch

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Bev and Trevor Lloyd are the proprietors of The Bindery Shop in Ludlow. This market town about one hour’s drive from Hay-on-Wye is steeped in history. It is also an area which is home to many artisans – Ludlow is the ideal location for a shop evoking the craftsmanship of an earlier time, as well as bringing bookbinding to a wider audience.

The Bindery Shop was born out of Bev’s frustration at being unable to find tasteful cards that anyone could send to family and friends, and Trevor’s passion for period bindings, honed during 30 years of antiquarian book restoration. In creating products for the shop, Bev and Trevor think back to the beautiful stationery shops they have visited on their travels in Italy and draw on the diverse talents of colleagues and friends.

Bev and Trevor have an 1863 Albion printing press and they have a wonderful series of cards that are hand-printed on this press using plates from John Comenius’ book, Orbus Pictus – or The Visible World.

Orbus Pictus is a textbook for children written by Czech educator John Comenius, first published in 1658. It is a children’s encyclopedia and is one of the first illustrated books intended for children.


Originally published in Latin and German in 1658 in Nuremberg, the book soon spread to schools in Germany and other countries. The first English edition was published in 1659. The first quadrilingual edition (in Latin, German, Italian and French) was published in 1666. The first Czech translation was published in the 1685 quadrilingual edition (together with Latin, German and Hungarian), by the Breuer publishing house in Levoča. In the years 1670 to 1780, new editions were published in various languages, with upgraded both pictures and text content.

Orbis Pictus had a long-lasting influence on children’s education. It was a precursor of both audio-visual techniques and the lexical approach in language learning.



Bev and Trevor Lloyd have chosen illustrations from Orbus Pictus that relate to their business to produce a beautiful series of handprinted cards. You can choose from illustrations of a papermaker, a printer, a bookbinder, a bookseller – and the book.

You can buy them online here.

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