Illustrating The Wonderful Large Wild Man

Stimulus: #1: 
The Wonderful Large Wild Man (ca 1790s), unknown author

Student activities

Task no. 1

Illustrating The Wonderful Large Wild Man

Listen as your teacher tells you about the broadside of The Wonderful Large Wild Man.

The Long S: not af confufing af it firft lookf!

When you read the original copy of The Wonderful Large Wild Man broadside you may have noticed that some of words containing the lower case letter “s” appear as though they have been written with an “f” instead. This does not mean that the “s” was pronounced as an “f”, though!

This type of “s” was known as a long or medial “s” and was used in English where “s” occurred at the start or in the middle of a word. The long or medial “s” evolved from the way that “s” was written in Old English with a long descending stroke.

English is a language that has continued to change over time. Old English is the form of English spoken by the Anglo Saxons between roughly the fifth and eleventh century AD. The Modern English spoken today is said to have emerged from about 1650.

The long “s stopped being used in printing typefaces in England between 1795 and 1810. The use of the long “s” in The Wonderful Large Wild Man broadside is very typical of printing in the 1790s in England where it was produced.

The long “s” continued to be used in hand writing in England until the 1860s. There are many manuscripts in the collection of the State Library of New South Wales that feature this odd letter that were produced long after this broadside was printed.

Using the Long or medial “s”

If you complete any of the activities about The Wonderful Large Wild Man by writing by hand you might like to include the long or medial “S” as a tribute to the way the English language has changed over time.


Draw your own illustration of The Wonderful Large Wild Man based on evidence from the description in the broadside.

Annotate your illustration using short quotations from the broadside.

Link your quotations using arrows or lines to different parts of the drawing.

One approach to this task is to first draw your picture of The Wonderful Large Wild Man on to an A4 sheet of paper then paste this sheet onto an A3 sheet. Leave a border around your drawing where you can easily include your annotations.

Note: You will notice that the wood block print illustration on the broadside does not exactly match the written description below it.