Sims Reed Rare Books×

Scènes de la Vie Privée et Publique des Animaux

Grandville. Various Authors

Paris. J. Hetzel et Paulin, Editeurs. 1842
The first edition of Grandville's anthropomorphic masterpiece in the deluxe publisher's binding.

This exceptional copy, bound in full maroon morocco, features all of the plates in the first issue (as per Carteret) and the first issue of the binding incorporating the special tools after Grandville's designs but without the additional decorative tools to the corners of the central panels of the front boards. The legend 'Badigeonographie générale des murailles de la France et de l'étranger' to the frontispiece, later removed by the censor, is present and four of the original yellow paper part wrappers (the two volumes were issued in 100 parts) are retained. Grandville's inspirational illustrations were engraved on wood by Brévière, coted by Ray as 'the one craftsman whose renderings of his work Grandville refused to criticize'.

The twenty-nine tales by various authors of the Scènes de la Vie Privée et Publique des Animaux are accompanied by J. J. Grandville's wonderful anthropomorphic illustrations. The tales themselves are by the foremost authors of the day, with four by Honoré de Balzac (Peines de Coeur d'une Chatte Anglaise, Guide-Ane à l'Usage des Animaux qui Veulent Parvenir aux Honneurs, Voyage d'un Lion d'Afrique à Paris and Les Amours de Deux Bêtes), as well as tales by George Sand (Voyage d'un Moineau à Paris), Paul Bernard (Les Animaux Médecins), Charles Nodier, Jules Janin, Paul de Musset and so on. The majority of the stories and text is by P.-J. Stahl, who wrote the Preface to the first volume. In contrast to all of the other plates, the final plate in volume two depicts human figures - the authors themselves - as animals in the Jardin-des-Plantes in Paris, regarded by spectating animals, while being sketched by Grandville himself.

'Through Grandville's animals, Hetzel and his colleagues [the authors] offered a witty and telling commentary on contemporary politics and personalities. Bouchot described the result as the best satire on French manners during the middle of the century ... Returning to the 'têtes-de-bêtes' of 'Les métamorphoses du jour', Grandville provided 323 illustrations, about two-thirds of which are full-page plates ... '. (Ray).

'Il a été exécuté pour les SCÈNES DES ANIMAUX des reliures et cartonnages artistiques qui sont parmi les plus beaux dans ce genre.' (Carteret).

[Ray 194; SR / BF 63 / 64 / 65; Carteret III, 552 - 559; Rebeyrat 289 / 190].
pp. (iv), 386, (i), (vi); 390, (vi). 2 vols. Large 8vo. (270 x 194 mm). Each vol. with half-title, title and frontispiece and a total of 199 hors-texte monochrome plates as well as numerous monochrome vignettes, all engraved by Brevière after Grandville. Original publisher's maroon morocco, boards ruled in blind with matching gilt vignettes to front and rear boards and spines, titles gilt to spines, cream moiré endpapers, two original part wrappers retained, a.e.g.

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