VOLTAIRE, [François-Marie Arouet de]. Leonetto CAPPIELLO, illustrator. ~ La Princesse de Babylone. Paris: [Argentueil: Coulouma for] Javal et Bordeaux 1928.
2 volumes, text and plates. 4to (323 × 248mm), text volume, pp. 88, , plus 14 coloured etched plates. Plus a separate suite of the 14 plates each in three further states (partially coloured, blue and monochrome). (42 plates overall). Original wrappers, fine, in publisher’s pink silk covered case. From the books of the late Martin Stone (1946-2016).
FIRST EDITION, WITH CAPPIELLO’S BRILLIANT COLOUR-PRINTED ILLUSTRATIONS. SIGNED, one of 40 copies only, all on japon, with plates in four states. Italian-born Cappiello became a prolific and iconic commercial artist in Paris of the early twentieth century, best known as a poster artist. The books he illustrated are relatively few in number and exhibit an unusual delicacy of style.
Voltaire’s oriental conte philosophique, Princesse de Babylone first appeared in 1768, followed by numerous eighteenth-century editions, which were frequently suppressed. The princess Formosante, born in ancient Babylon, wanders the world accompanied by a wise phoenix, in pursuit of her lover, Amazan, from the utopian kingdom of Gangarides. She visits countries from China to England giving Voltaire the opportunity to compare and criticize their customs and beliefs. Carteret, IV, p. 406: ‘Èdition recherchée et cotée’.