A Finely Bound Volume for and about a Bibliophile
(BINDINGS - CHAMBOLLE-DURU). LACROIX, PAUL.
MA RÉPUBLIQUE.(Paris: Librairie L. Conquet, 1902). 203 x 140 mm (8 x 5 1/2"). 2 p.l., 150,  pp. ONE OF 40 SPECIAL COPIES WITH TWO EXTRA STATES OF THE PLATES, AND INSCRIBED BY THE PUBLISHER (to "Monsieur L. Rattier"--see below), OF THE LIMITED EDITION OF 100 COPIES ON JAPAN VELLUM (of a total edition of 400 copies).
VERY FINE CRIMSON MOROCCO, GILT AND INLAID, BY CHAMBOLLE-DURU (stamp-signed on front doublure), covers with broad border comprised of seven gilt fillets, raised bands, spine compartments outlined with five concentric gilt rules, DOUBLURES OF BROWN CRUSHED MOROCCO FEATURING STYLIZED FLOWERS OF INLAID OLIVE BROWN MOROCCO on elegant arching gilt stems, cloth endleaves, marbled flyleaves, all edges gilt. Original printed wrappers bound in. With seven etchings, each in three states (for a total of 21 plates), by Edmond Adolphe Rudaux. Carteret IV, 223. IN VIRTUALLY MINT CONDITION.
This is a beautifully bound connoisseur's copy of a work that offers a humorous account of the adventures of a bibliophile and the fortunes of a rare book during the period of the French Revolution. Paul Lacroix (1806-84), a journalist and the author of numerous historical romances as well as more serious historical accounts, was a great enthusiast of the world of books and libraries. The etchings take us into that world, including scenes of the book stalls along the Seine, a public library interior, and the final scene of a bibliophile dozing before the fire while dreaming of a book. The artist, Edmond Rudaux (1840-1914), produced paintings and etchings in the Romantic style, as well as realistic genre scenes like those in the present volume, and was a pioneer in the revival of the technique of etching. The inscribee here is no doubt the eminent French bibliophile Léon Rattier, whose collection, especially of fine limited editions, was renowned for its beauty and uniformly outstanding condition. The present sort of volume is exactly the kind of thing that gave his library its deserved reputation--a limited luxury printing on special paper with the plates in extra states, with a special presentation from the publisher, and in a binding from one of the best Parisian workshops. Books from the Rattier library made up much of the sale held at Drouot on 6 June 1984. Our binding is another example of the elegant work produced by the Chambolle bindery (about which, see previous item). While classical work was always their mainstay, the firm "showed a cautious recognition of the . . . preoccupation with Art Nouveau." (Duncan and De Bartha) The binding represents both impulses, the covers being entirely classical, and the doublures, with their sinuous stems and leafy inlaid forms, being obviously an expression of Art Nouveau. (ST11333)