(Paris: Librairie des Amateurs, A. Ferroud, Libraire-Éditeur, 1902). 252 x 162 mm. (10 x 6 3/8"). 3 p.l., 96 pp.  leaves (prospectus). First Separate Edition (see below). No. 58 OF 160 COPIES ON JAPON, from a total edition of 400 copies.
VERY ELEGANT DARK BLUE MOROCCO, GILT IN AN ANTIQUE SCROLLING DESIGN, BY RENÉ KIEFFER (stamp-signed in gilt on front doublure), raised bands, gilt lettering to spine, SKY BLUE MOROCCO DOUBLURES enclosed by dark blue morocco frame tastefully tooled in gilt, patterned silk endleaves, marbled flyleaves, top edges gilt. Original printed wrappers bound in. Title vignette, five plates, 14 illustrations, three headpieces, and three tailpieces, all in two additional states before letters, etched by Xavier Lesueur after Adrien Moreau (80 etched images in all, the title vignette being repeated on the front wrapper). A Large Paper Copy. With the four-page prospectus bound in at back. Front flyleaf with armorial bookplate of Dr. Samuel L. Siegler. ◆Trivial shelfwear, but A VERY FINE COPY, pristine internally.
This is a beautifully bound and attractively illustrated edition, printed on creamy paper with vast margins, of a portion of the author's "L'Étui de Nacre" ("Mother of Pearl"), first published in 1892. The story recounts the adventures of a country youth, once meant for the priesthood, who becomes a member of the volunteer militia after spending a tumultuous time in Paris amidst the uproar of the French Revolution. The novelist, critic, and man of letters Anatole France (born Jacques Anatole Thibault, 1844-1924) grew up amidst the deprivation that comes with being the son of a bookseller, but he rose to become one of the great European writers of the 19th century. In 1921, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. The Nobel Foundation describes France as "a writer in the mainstream of French classicism. His style, modelled on Voltaire and Fénélon, as well as his urbane scepticism and enlightened hedonism, continue the tradition of the French eighteenth century." The binder René Kieffer (1875-1963) was in the first class of students to graduate from the École Étienne, where he concentrated on becoming a doreur, or gilder, learning to tool gold designs in the classical style. After leaving school, he worked at the Chambolle-Duru bindery until 1898, when he established his own studio. According to Duncan & De Bartha, he "became a disciple of Marius Michel, moving gradually away from his traditional training towards a more emblematic and modern style." He would become one of the most innovative and progressive binders in Paris in the 20th century, but for the present volume he hewed to his traditional training, producing a lovely design that suggests the Rococo style popular at the time the events in the story take place. (ST19290)