A superb and extensive manuscript chansonnier, containing at least 900 popular, topical and satirical chansons, dating from 1600-1737, many with detailed musical notation.more...
In pre-revolutionary France, social comment and political criticism found eloquent expression in song. These chansons were sung in the lower reaches of the royal courts, in salons and on street corners, often to popular tunes or show tunes by Lully and other composers, and were passed around orally or on manuscript sheets, a mode of transmission that Cultural historian, Robert Darnton has memorably described as ‘viral’. It was a fashionable activity around 1700 to copy these songs into bound volumes, such as these, collecting all the old songs and adding new ones as they appeared. Similar collections were sometimes also printed, but the manuscript versions tend to be fuller and contain more detail on the context and on the musical accompaniment. In our example, one of the best we have come across, the subject of each song is given in revealing shoulder notes and the melodies are written out in full, complete with key signatures, at the head of many of the texts.
The earlier songs are of the ‘Mazarinade’ variety, with a large proportion of the later seventeenth-century examples directed against the court of young Louis XIV, presided over by Cardinal Mazarin. Later songs include satires on John Law and his disastrous speculation in the Mississippi project, on the religious cult of the Convulsionnaires in Paris, on the morality of the clergy (a Boulogne pastor is accused of deflowering a novitiate) and of the women of the Paris theatre (and their periodic public debauches), and one on Voltaire, condemned for his Lettres philosophiques (Letters Concerning the English Nation, 1733). Together they can genuinely be claimed as a social history of France in verse and song, for the period in question.
Robert Darnton has made an extensive study of similar chansonniers in French public collections, published as Poetry and the Police: Communication Networks in Eighteenth-Century Paris (2010). He writes: ‘Parisians improvised new words to old tunes every day and on every possible subject—the love life of actresses, executions of criminals, the birth or death of members of the royal family, battles in times of war, taxes in times of peace, trials, bankruptcies, accidents, plays, comic operas, festivals, and all sorts of occurrences that fit into the capacious French category of faits divers (assorted events). A clever verse to a catchy tune spread through the streets with unstoppable force, and new verses frequently followed it, carried from one neighbourhood to another like gusts of wind. In a semiliterate society, songs functioned to a certain extent as newspapers. They provided a running commentary on current events.’
I. 1600-64, ff. 250, , the first and last blank. II. 1665-88, ff. 232, the first blank. III. 1689-1701, ff. 247, , the last blank. IV. 1702-1708 (title page date 1735), ff. 250, , the last 3 blank. V. 1708-1714, ff. 1-56, 58-149, . VI. 1714-23, ff. 246, . VII. 1724-34, ff. 240, , plus several blanks at rear. VIII. 1729-1737. ff. 229, . .see full details
A illuminated manuscript made by Fanny Roussan commemorating the marriage of her brother Hyacinthe Roussan and Evelina Ripert on July 15th, 1893 in the basilica of Notre Dame (Rennes, Brittany).more...
The book is dedicated to Evelina in October that year: ‘J’ai pensé vous faire plaisir chère Evelina, en vous peignant ce manuscrit. Acceptez mon travail, dicté par l’affecting et gardez le en souvenir d’une soeur.’ The text includes the marriage address given by Father Rippert (Evelina’s uncle) and the nuptial mass itself, followed by tow pages originally blank for the addition of ‘souvenirs’, which contain records of the baptism of two children: Odette (1896) and Margueritte (1899). The illumination includes delightful scrolling borders and lettering with gryphons and the occasional animal, together with pious portraits, a fine miniature depicting the basilica at Rennes and heraldic emblems of Britanny. One miniature, in grisaille, depicts a veiled woman at work copying manuscripts on a writing slope. Little else is known of this accomplished amateur scribe and illuminator, though we are aware of at least one other manuscript in her hand..see full details
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
An illustrated Revelation, a particularly delightful interpretation by a Russian-Jewish artist with Polish heritage, Simon Segal (1898-1969), who created vibrant and imaginative lithographs with a childlike, expressionist quality. Segal first exhibited his work in Paris in 1935 and from then on he had numerous exhibitions in London, Paris, Milan and Brazil, both during his lifetime and after. Number 14 of 30 examples on vélin pur chiffon de Rives for the artist (total edition 150)..see full details
FIRST EDITION, EACH OF THE THREE PARTS SIGNED AND HAND NUMBERED BY THE ARTIST, number 25 of 30 copies, each handcoloured by Madeleine Smets-Lefrancq.more...
An extraordinarily dramatic graphic interpretation of Revelation, with linocuts by the Franciscan monk and sceptic Fieullien (1903-1976), who had studied at l’Académie de Bruxelles under the Belgian painter Oswald Poreau. He worked in sculpture, stained glass and paint, but his best work was in his remarkable illustrated books, with their idiosyncratic lettering and unsettling (occasionally lurid) religious imagery..see full details
Fragerolle had been Erik Satie’s co-pianist at the Chat Noir, composing most of the music for its revues. This is his delightful collection of old French Christmas carols, with ornaments to the wrapper, endpapers and text by Georges Auriol, also a member of the Chat Noir circle and friend of Satie. The wrapper, printed separately by Eugène Verneau and with trademark Auriol lettering, is particularly scarce..see full details
A set of 15 finely-executed copper engravings by Suzanne Cocq (1894-1979), a Belgian symbolist important in the revival of printmaking in that country and who was married to Maurice Brocas. The plates illustrate the 15 mysteries of the rosary, grouped in three sequences: Mystères joyeux, Mystères douloureux and Mystères glorieux..see full details
Sole edition, number 7 of 500 copies inscribed by the author, of this collection on the themes of youth, age, love and death by an otherwise almost unknown symbolist illustrator with a distinctive dark and angular style.more...
The only text is a brief introduction by Fred Witmann: ‘Ame impatiente où brûle le désir créateur, André d’Audroin peintre des allégories symboliques et somptueuses, plâne au dessus des préjugés. Son œuvre “L’Ame Eternelle” chante dans une note passionnée ce qu'est “l’éternelle comédie humaine”. Personne, avant lui n’avait osé saisir ce flambeau, lui seul a su en saisir la flamme!’..see full details
One of 300 copies. A very scarce book written and illustrated by the French-born missionary monk, Bouton, who worked in the Middle-East and Asia. He was also a keen calligrapher and ceramicist whose cartoon-like drawing style has something in common with medieval illumination. The effect is completed here with illuminated initials and text reproducing manuscript..see full details
First edition, inscribed by the artist to a young girl: ‘à ma chère amie Marguerite bien affectueusement.more...
E. Moreau-Nélaton’. An unusual illustrated book of saints dedicated to his children, with plates in a distinctive gauzy style by painter, prodigious art collector and art historian, Moreau-Nélaton. His style was influenced by Édouard Manet and Berthe Morisot..see full details
One of 160 copies, this one of 150 on japon, pochoir coloured, this copy also with publisher’s inscription ‘Hommage de bonne amitié à M.more...
Decises’. This is Nodier’s short story based on the legend of the medieval Sister Beatrice of the convent of Notre-Dame des Épines-Fleurie (Jura), a passionate young woman who left the community to marry a knight, only returning after bearing him several children. The Caruchet illustrations and ornaments consist of numerous elegant floral borders with marginal figures..see full details
First and only complete collected edition, a superb and handsome set completed with 2 volumes of Cook’s ‘Life of Ruskin’ (1911) uniformly bound (41 vols in all).more...
‘The edition was the outcome of twelve years work by Edward Tyas Cook and Alexander Wedderburn, although Cook completed the bulk of the editing. The aim of The Library Edition was to provide the complete works of Ruskin, both literary and artistic, in uniform volumes. The edition was undertaken by Messrs. George Allen, Ruskin's publishers. Illustrated by 820 wood blocks and 990 full-page plates with 120 facsimiles of MSS., the edition includes 269 plates of Ruskin's own drawings of which 200 had never before been published. Portraits of Ruskin are used as frontispieces to some of the volumes. The press work was carried out by Messrs. Ballantyne of Edinburgh, and the weight of type amounted to nine tons, whilst the printing ink weighed 1800lbs. Printed on hand-made, linen rag paper (about 87tons) with a double watermark of Ruskin's monogram and seal. The edition consisted of 2062 sets, of which 2000 were available for sale to subscribers for the full set. The first volume was published on 27 March 1903. George Allen did not live to see the completion of the edition dying on 5 September 1907, his children taking over the firm... Cook and Wedderburn provide the standard reference work for Ruskin studies.’ (from the University of Lancaster’s Preface to their electronic edition).
‘The apogee of Ruskin's immediate influence was marked by the decision to publish a monumental Library Edition of his complete works in thirty-nine volumes, edited by E. T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn, which appeared between 1903 and 1912. Although biographically reticent and presenting a liberal version of Ruskin (as did Cook’s entry in the Dictionary of National Biography), this became the foundation for future Ruskin scholarship’ (Oxford DNB)..see full details
Marsh, biblical critic and later bishop of Peterborough was born at Faversham, Kent, on 10 December 1757 and educated at Faversham grammar school and the King's School, Canterbury, before going up to Cambridge. He travelled in Egypt, Arabia and Europe before returning to Cambridge for his BD. The Authenticity of the five Books of Moses, defending Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch was one of his qualifying sermons..see full details
A delightful fin-de-siècle devotional manuscript illuminated with great skill by a Miss Maury of Nice, reputedly when in her nineties.more...
Each day of the week is provided with prayers and devotions written in her neat calligraphic hand and almost every page bears at least one example of her minutely-rendered illumination. About the maker we know nothing else. She signs and dates the manuscript at the end..see full details