First edition of our favourite titles in the entire Physiologie catalogue, in which the author anatomises the cult of the Parisian flâneur with the help of the iconic wood engraved vignettes of Alophe, Daumier and Maurisset.more...
These cheap little chapbooks, published in their thousands, were a defining feature of French nineteenth century publishing, feeding a craze which swept Paris in the 1830s and 40s. The figure of the flâneur, walking the Parisian streets and being absorbed the city crowd, was equally definitive; his occupation elevated to that of philosophical aesthetic by the likes of Baudelaire. Eagerly collected from an early date, individual Physiologies were often bound in small groups so are uncommon with wrappers entirely intact..see full details
Cross-dressing was not uncommon in nineteenth-century Paris, with prominent women such as George Sand and painter Rosa Bonheur regularly adopting male clothing.more...
But it was (at least in theory) subject to legal restriction, with cross-dressing women required by an ordonnance of 1800 to obtain a Permission de travestissement, and the topic was often discussed. This rare mid-century lithograph shows a young woman who has discarded the fussy trappings of contemporary women’s fashion (a bonnet and full length dress) in favour of shirt, trousers and stove-pipe hat. She considers herself in the mirror and a mask lies ready on her dressing table, suggesting she is dressing for a ball..see full details
The narrative pedigree of a royal librarian: François Damant (c.more...
1535-1611) and his brother Nicolas (c. 1531-1616). François was Conseiller and Garde joyaux (i.e. keeper of the library) to the Duke of Burgundy, Philip II, King of Spain in the Netherlands and afterwards to his son Phillip III. His name appears in numerous manuscripts and records relating to the library and he was also a member of the Order of the Golden Fleece (Toison d’or, from 1587). He was son of Pierre Damant (1503-68), also of the Toison d’or and a royal librarian in his time. His brother Nicolas, who shares this pedigree was an official in the Habsburg government of Flanders and became Chancellor of Brabant and served Phillip II as a Councillor of State, Garde des sceaux and Garde joyaux, before (as is narrated in the pedigree) moving to Madrid when the centre of administration of the Austrian Netherlands moved there in 1698. The gruesome story of how and why he was granted two dogs (gros chiens) and a crown as part of his coat of arms is also related here in the context of a royal hunt (chasse du sanglier) in which a boar was killed by the royal dogs in his presence.
The pedigree also records the marriages of both brothers: François to Louyse de Sicleers and Nicolas to Barbara Brant, and each had several children. The arms of both wives are included in the pedigree besides those of their husbands, the women’s arms in oval cartouches, the men’s in lozenges. The same distinction is applied to the arms of their various male and female children listed in the pedigree.
The scribe uses a neat French secretarial hand for most of the document, changing to an accomplished italic for describing elements of the blazons, following contemporary practice. The manuscript is foliated in a contemporary hand, presumably by the scribe, in ink at the top right hand corner. A later pencil pagination suggests it was later included (either loose or bound) in a much large genealogical collection. The paper is watermarked with a hunting horn stringed within a shield (similar to Briquet 7867, date there to 1586)..see full details
An engraved copper plate for an erotic illustration, probably for an edition of Vingt Ans d’un jeune homme, first published c.more...
1830 (despite false imprints of 1789 and 1790) and reprinted several times. It was condemned in 1842 and 1852’ pour outrages aux bonnes mœurs et à la morale publique’ and ordered to be destroyed..see full details
An engraved copper plate depicting nuns for an edition of the Decameron after the famous edition illustrated by Gravelot, Boucher et al.more...
(’Londres’, 1757-61). The work was several times reprinted in the eighteenth century and later (Cohen cites editions of 1779, 1791) sometimes with plates reduced to duodecimo format, as here..see full details
Two engraved engraved copper printing plates from a condemned erotic publication.more...
The seventeenth-century erotic dialogue L’École des filles had been frequently reprinted; and was paired in this Brussels edition of c. 1863-7 (with a false Paris imprint of 1798) with another work Le Degré des âges du plaisir (falsely attributed to Mirabeau). The edition was condemned by the Lille Tribunal correctionel in 1868 (probably on account of its illustrations) and ordered to be destroyed.
The two plates here are for illustrations in the second volume illustrating these passages:
‘Ne pouvant plus resister à l’ardeur qui me dévorait, car jétais tout en feu, je l’empoignai par le manche, je le menai au pied du lit...’ (II, p. 46).
‘J’ai lu dans un livre fort instructif... l’histoire de la fille d’un roi quie se servait d’une plaisante invention: elle avait une statue d’homme peinte en couleur de chair et fournie d’un puissant engin de matière moins dure que le reste; cet engin était raide et creux...’ (II, p. 98)..see full details
First edition, the last of Bogue’s Comick Almanacks (a series begun in 1835), with the frequently reproduced folding frontispiece by Cruikshank: ‘”The Rights of Women” or the Effects of Female Enfranchisement’.more...
Cruikshank’s satire neatly articulates contemporary anxieties around electoral reform and arguments for women’s suffrage: Sir Charles Darling and Screw Driver (’The Great Political Economist’) stand before a crowd of male and female voters, the elegant Darling promises ‘Parliamentary Balls Once a Week’ and attracts a rapturous response from Husband and Wife voters, while Screw Driver is shunned..see full details
Hollar’s small format plates of European women and their costume are dated from 1642-4 and followed his successful series Ornatus muliebris Anglicanus of 1640.more...
The plates were obtained by eighteenth-century printseller Robert Sayer, who issued them several times (with captions in English added) right up until his death in 1794. His widow may also have continued issuing and selling them into the early nineteenth-century. They are one of the best sources for seventeenth-century lay female dress and include several English subjects (A Noble Woman, a Merchant’s Wife of London, an English Gentlewoman, A Merchant’s Daughter, Lady of the Court, a Countrywoman etc) together with women of France, Ireland, Holland, Germany, Denmark, Belgium and Austria. Three of the plates at the end depict men of religious orders..see full details
27 invitation cards to the notorious Parisian annual costume ball.more...
The ball first commenced in 1892, and apart from the war years ran, until 1966. Attendance to the ball was restricted to students and former students of the École, as well as ‘artistic personalities’ who had contributed to the preparation of the ball. The balls were held in several major venues scattered throughout Paris over the years, with most taking place at the Moulin Rouge, the Salle Wagram, and the Parc des Expositions Porte de Versailles. Although in its early years the ball was simply an elaborate party, beginning in 1900 each ball had a specific historic theme, often derived from an ancient text or inspired by an ‘exotic’ foreign culture, around which various contests were arranged. With the addition of a theme the balls became more elaborate often turning debaucherous, romping affairs with guests soon discarding the period costumes that they were required to wear to gain entrance. The nudity, dancing and merrymaking often continued into the wee hours, the ball usually ending, with a shout of ‘Vive les Quat’z’ Arts!’, around seven o’clock in the morning, followed by a procession through the Latin Quarter, a romp around the Louvre, and a march over the Pont du Carrousel to the Théâtre de l’Odéon, where the partygoers would disband.
Not surprisingly The Bal des Quat’z’ Arts quickly became one of the premier events of the summer season. The invitations which had to be handed over at the door were elaborately designed to match the spectacle of the events, and correspondingly were often thematically orientalist, exotic, or primitive, with overtly erotic and sexual imagery. They are a tour de force of the evolution of artistic style, showing the progress from Art Nouveau to modernist primitivism, up through psychedelic design. The ball is famously depicted in a series of photographs by Brassaï of 1930 and numerous other photographic records exist of the ball and its associated street procession. The invitations here all have their perforated ticket (in one example, detached but present) and include the following years: 1912, 1917, 1923, 1925, 1926, 1928, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934 (two variants), 1946, 1947, 1949, 1950 (two variants), 1951, (three variants), 1952, 1953 (two variants), 1954 (two variants), 1955, and 1956. All in at least very good condition. A remarkable collection..see full details
A large collection of very well-executed botanical drawings, including camellia, cherry, hibiscus, crocosmia, narcissus, sweet potato, peony, ginger, iris, pea, saffron and many others.more...
The style is botanically accurate and many of the images have additional monochrome details added to the margins, but the composition and handling are wonderfully elegant, crossing the two halves of each opening. Most are titled. The plant drawings are supplemented by a few excellent bird and feather drawings and a butterfly. The album seems to have been added to successively over time, adding new leaves as they were painted or gathered. ‘Keien’ was a widely used pen name among Japanese artists of the period..see full details
A collection of photographs, with a written introduction by Hurlimann showing various scenes and famous places of India. He was a Swiss publisher, who founded a newspaper Atlantis, in 1929 which specialised in international travel, but he is best known for being a photographer of Western European cities..see full details
It includes fine photogravure plates by numerous photographers including Léon Bovier, Rene Le Bègue, Édouard Adelot and Maurice Bucquet. Robert Aubry, the director is known in the photographic world for his work in aerial photography and used this skill to organise the clubs first competition in this subject. The cover and table of contents have been illustrated beautifully by the type and graphic designer Auriol and it displays an Art Nouveau style with a typeface inspired by Japanese calligraphy. A second series followed in 1905, but is very rare..see full details
One of 195 copies on velin de lana, (there are a further 35 copies with an extra suite, total edition 230). A collection of tales by Fargue, illustrated by Villebouef an artist who worked in many different fields including stage design, writing and painting. He worked in Paris in the 1920’s amongst artists such as René Fauchois, Jean-Gabriele Daragnes and Marcel Ayme. .see full details
An exceptionally rare illustrated magazine of popular arts for women and young people.more...
It includes instructions for arts and crafts including painting (especially botanical and entomological), lettering, embroidery, woolwork, lacquer, ceramics, bookbinding, découpage, and artificial fruit and flowers. It includes details of suppliers.
It was issued serially, probably in 4 leaf gatherings with one or more plates, weekly or fortnightly. Exceptionally rare, we have been able to locate two copies outside France: National Art Library (V&A) and Cooper Hewitt Museum (NY). Our copy contains issues from the first running to c. 1835 and breaks off part way through an article on artificial flowers. Each issue evidently was of strictly 4 leaves regardless of the length of the final article, which was resumed in the following issue. The V&A copy contains several more issues and breaks off mid-article at p. 224 and has 72 plates. It also contains a few fragments of printed pink wrappers in which each issue appeared.
A SUPERB BOOK OF THE DEAD BY AN IMPORTANT TRANSGENDER ARTIST, habitually addressed by his friend Picasso as ‘Monsieur Madame’. A spectacular large-format engraved book—the text being burin engraved throughout by Anton Prinner. The text is drawn from the translation by Pierret after the Turin papyrus. It was published with the assistance of Robert J. Godet, who died shortly afterwards: Prinner signs on his behalf ‘pour J. Godet +’.
‘Anton Prinner, who was probably born Anna Prinner but lived as a man throughout his life, studied painting at the Budapest school of fine arts in 1920 and went to Paris in 1928. He then gave up painting for a while and studied occult sciences, esoteric doctrines and mystical philosophies... During the wartime German occupation of France, Prinner went into hiding, living in a squalid garret... He was an intriguing and enigmatic character, who lived a solitary and reclusive life, and the chronology of some stages of his work and life remains obscure.
When Prinner resumed painting in 1932 after his occult studies, he was much influenced by Mondrian's Neo-Plasticism and by Russian Constructivism. At that time, he also learned print-making, working in Atelier 17 in Paris with Stanley William Hayter. After his Constructivist period, which lasted from 1932 to 1937, he worked on low relief and then high relief sculpture, a medium always favoured by Constructivist artists. At some time, perhaps around 1939, he took up sculpture in the round, producing Woman with Braid. The technique of sculpture, or rather its internal logic, brought Prinner back to Figurative art.
During the German occupation, hidden away in his garret, Prinner devoted himself to drawing meticulous still-lifes of everyday objects in pen and ink. When he returned to sculpture, it was with the intention of creating works that would mediate with the occult forces which had preoccupied him... The composite creatures that emerge from his personal or esoteric obsessions, with their suggestions of aberrant nature, can also recall the work of Jean Arp.
From 1947 to 1949, Prinner worked on 66 etchings and dry-point illustrations for the Egyptian Book of the Dead, as well as a series of low reliefs on the same theme, which he exhibited in 1948...
Prinner took part in the exhibition The Avant-garde in Hungary, 1910-1930 (L’Avant-garde en Hongrie 1910-1930), which was held in the Galerie Franka Berndt, Paris, in 1984. He had two other exhibitions on returning to Paris from Vallauris, in 1965 and 1969’ (Benezit).
Number 133 of 200 copies on Rives Royal, (there were a further 10 examples on Japon séculaire, with an original drawing, 7 for collaborators on papiers divers. Total edition 217). .see full details
A collection of homoerotic lithographs by Jean Boullet, an iconic gay artist who proclaimed himself simply as a ‘painter of masculine beauty,’ which is precisely what he does here in these illustrations. One of 467 copies on Vélin de Lana, (there are a further 33 examples on Vélin d’Arches, with drawing, total edition 500)..see full details