Item #988 The Flowers Personified; Being a Translation of Grandville’s Les Fleurs Animées. J. J. Grandville, Jean Jacques.
The Flowers Personified; Being a Translation of Grandville’s Les Fleurs Animées
The Flowers Personified; Being a Translation of Grandville’s Les Fleurs Animées
The Flowers Personified; Being a Translation of Grandville’s Les Fleurs Animées
The Flowers Personified; Being a Translation of Grandville’s Les Fleurs Animées

The Flowers Personified; Being a Translation of Grandville’s Les Fleurs Animées

New York: R. Martin, 1847. First Edition. Hardcover. 3 vols. in 1. 1st American edition (in English). Exceptionally detailed, bespoke, contemporary full morocco, signed on the cover by Jill Smith, intricately inlaid, white silk moiré, framed endpapers, bearing a gilt inscription from a husband to his wife on their wedding day (Jan. 1, 1859, probably dating the binding as 1858), all edges gilt, light wear to covers, neatly rebacked, small chips to the corners of the vignette title page, a trace of foxing but printed on paper vastly superior to what was general on American books in 1847, and still near fine. 50 unprecedented engraved plates of anthropomorphic plants (simultaneously poetical and satirical) dressed in flower and leaf enhanced French couture of the day, when seamstresses were independent, hired individually and came to the customer. The 50 plates are professionally and, in this copy, artistically, hand colored (the publisher’s choice of the painters he employed varies from copy to copy), with 2 additional botanical plates in black and white, all as called for and as issued. Complete with the errata, the contents, the Modern Botany for Ladies, The Cultivation of Flowers (Ladies Horticulture), and the Supplement to Ladies Botany. The book is a famed one, the binding on this copy is an additional beautification. It’s the quality sometimes seen on French editions of Grandville’s works but not encountered on his translations into English. And for a mid–century binding on an American book, it’s extraordinary. Collation: 385pp. + 152p., 8p. Near fine. Item #988

In these illustrations, Grandville followed in the steps of the likes of Bosch, Bruegel, and Goya as ancestors in the first hazy light before sunrise, of what became the grotesque in surrealism, more evident (to me) in the 2nd of the 3 plates opposite page 136, the one opposite page 230, the one opposite page 252, and that opposite page 261. And these were 18 years before Tenniel’s assault on reality in Alice in Wonderland, and 70 years before surrealism was named, when it hatched out of Dada in the 1920s. Grandville’s other major works, (including The Animals and Another World) combined with this one to express the varieties and possibilities of the concept and marked him as an inventive genius without peer in his time.

Price: $6,000.00

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