(Paris: Roussod, Valadon, 1887). 317 x 267 mm. (12 1/2 x 10 1/2"). 133 pp. No. 118 OF 250 COPIES on Japon, with two additional states of the plates.
ELEGANT SCARLET CRUSHED MOROCCO, GILT AND INLAID, BY J. KAUFFMANN, covers with an entrelac design of inlaid dark blue morocco strapwork outlined in gilt, accented with delicate sprays of gilt and inlaid blossoms, center compartment of upper cover with inlaid initial "D" and that of lower cover with inlaid "M," raised bands, spine compartments with inlaid frame entwined with climbing gilt and inlaid floral vines, giving the spine a lattice effect, densely gilt inner dentelles, floral silk brocade endleaves, all edges gilt. Original cream paper wrappers bound in. Housed in a leather-lined matching morocco-backed chemise and slipcase. With 18 heliogravure plates and 18 vignettes after Madeleine Lemaire, all in three states, the additional states proofs before letters, one set printed in blue on Whatman paper, the other in bistre on Japon. Full-page plates and headpiece vignettes with lettered tissue guards. Vicaire IV, 8. IN SPARKLING CONDITION inside and out.
This is a luxurious production that typifies the "bibliophile editions" popular with collectors in Belle Epoque Paris: a popular—usually light-hearted--story expertly printed on fine paper, lavishly illustrated by a fashionable artist, and opulently bound by a leading atelier. Binder J. Kauffmann was one of a family of binders working in Paris in the late 19th and early 20th century, producing sumptuous bindings for discerning bibliophiles, influenced by Octave Uzanne and the Goncourt brothers, whose enthusiasm for the books arts resulted in a brief "golden age" where publishers and binders competed to see who could produce the most extravagant works. Kauffmann's bindings appear on a number of strictly limited and splendidly produced books of the period, sometimes in collaboration with other binders, including Charles Meunier. Here, he has drawn inspiration from French bindings of the earlier "golden age" driven by Jean Grolier, but has added refreshing modern elements, notably the floral spray on the boards and the clever climbing floral vine on the spine. Bound for a collector with the initials "D M," our volume contains the charming tale of an elderly provincial priest contending with the scandalous new owner of the local castle, a "heretic" (read "Protestant") American actress. Fearing her corrupting influence on the innocent citizens of the parish and prepared to fight her wicked ways, the abbé is instead won over by the young woman, who turns out to be a gracious, benevolent addition to the community--and a Catholic to boot! The illustrations depicting the tranquil rural community, the well-appointed chateau, and the fashionable actress and her friends are the work of Madeleine Lemaire (1845-1928), known for her accomplished genre and flower paintings and for her Paris salon, where she presided over discussions with such luminaries as Guy de Maupassant, Sarah Bernhardt, and Marcel Proust, the latter using her as a model for Madame Verdurin in his "In Search of Lost Time." Author Ludovic Halévy (1834-1908) was primarily known as a playwright and a librettist for the opera, but he also wrote a couple of best-selling novels, the present work being the most popular. At a time when gritty naturalism was the order of the day in fiction, he presented a world that was realistic, but inhabited by kind and virtuous characters. Kauffmann's binding is a wonderful example of bibliopegic art, with materials, design, and craftsmanship that demonstrate the quality demanded by the discriminating collectors of the time, and that continue to be appreciated by bibliophiles today. (ST15713)
Add to Cart Price: $14,000.00
PJP Catalog: NY20BF.025