A Luxury Volume Rife with Natural History, from its Content To its Charming Binding, Crawling with Ladybugs and Beetles


(Paris: L. Conquet et G. Charpentier, 1883). 222 x 140 mm. (8 3/4 x 5 5 /8"). 1 p.l., 2, [2] pp., [1] leaf, xix, [1], 269, [3] pp. Preface by Jules Claretie. No. 14 OF 75 COPIES on Chine (as here) or Japon, according to the subscriber's preference, WITH ILLUSTRATIONS IN TWO STATES, one before letters, from a total edition of 500 copies. Printed on Large Paper.

SUPERB GREEN CRUSHED MOROCCO, ELEGANTLY AND VERY ELABORATELY GILT, BY THIBARON-JOLY, covers with elaborate frame of compartments formed by French fillets and decorated with repeated fleur-de-lys tools, roundels at corners containing a pair of love birds, central panel enclosed by curving leafy branches between sets of French fillets, center panel divided into four quadrants, each densely tooled with twining vines, enclosing a mandorla-shaped centerpiece containing two doves within an olive branch wreath, raised bands, spine compartments in the style of the central panel, with olive branch wreath at center, gilt lettering, HONEY BROWN MOROCCO DOUBLURES, tooled with a spray of gilt branches, with two beetles and two ladybugs crawling among them and a tiny butterfly hovering above, leather hinges, marbled endpapers and flyleaves, all edges gilt. Original paper wrappers in two states (on Chine and Japon) bound in at front and rear. In a matching chamois-lined slipcase. Extra engraved illustrated title page in five states: full-color, purple, sanguine, and green states on Japon, black & white state on Chine, 69 wood engraved illustrations by H. Giacomelli in the text and in an additional state before letters, illustrated title pages dated 1884 in three states (purple, green, and black & white) added at rear, Japon front wrapper WITH A CHARMING ORIGINAL WATERCOLOR OF BIRDS IN A TREE SIGNED BY GIACOMELLI preceding the printed title page. Verso of marbled front flyleaf with gilt monogram stamp of "E S." Vicaire VII, 789; Ray 289. Spine evenly sunned to a pale olive green, thin red and blue lines just at tail edge of perhaps a quarter of the leaves (apparently there before printing and perhaps meant to be trimmed off, given the margins here are vast), other insignificant imperfections, but A VERY FINE COPY, clean and fresh internally, IN AN UNWORN BINDING BRIGHT WITH GILT.

This deluxe edition of Theuriet's winsome tales of country life boasts illustrations that Ray deems "in perfect harmony with the author's youthful reveries" as well as a binding alive with flora and fauna from a leading Parisian workshop. Theuriet (1833-1907) was noted for his keenly observed and empathetic depictions of the petit bourgeoisie and the French countryside: Lemaître describes him as "the best, most cordial, and most accurate painter" of this world. First issued in 1867, "Sous Bois" contains the stories "Autumn in the Woods," "Research on Coleoptera [Beetles]," and "Song of the Gardener." According to Ray, Theuriet was "delighted" with the choice of Hector Giacomelli to illustrate this reissue, proclaiming "Giaco" to be "the artist who was best acquainted with the familiar life of birds, plants, and insects, and who knew how to depict it with as much charm as delicacy." In Ray's opinion, the synergy between words and art here has produced "one of [the luxury publisher] Conquet's most successful books." The binder Thibaron was the favorite pupil of Georges Trautz (1807-79), considered by Michon "the uncontested master of the luxury binding" who achieved a level of celebrity that Michon says would be difficult to imagine. After Trautz retired, Thibaron established his own bindery, and, according to Beraldi, he seemed poised to become heir to his master's position in the binding world, but, sadly, he died very soon afterwards, before he could begin to fulfill that promise. After having apprenticed with a provincial binder, Antoine Joly (1838-1917) moved to Paris, found employment with the celebrated Léon Gruel, later formed a partnership with Thibaron in 1874, became his successor, and, in 1892, turned the business over to his son Robert (1870? - 1924).

Price: $5,000.00