MARCHANT, [François]. ~ La Constitution en vaudevilles suivie des Droits de l’homme, de la femme & de plusieurs autres vaudevilles constitutionnels. Paris: Maradan, 1792.
32mo (95 × 50 mm), pp. 160, stipple-engraved frontispiece printed in colours, before letters. Contemporary red morocco, gilt. A lovely copy.
A satirical song collection, in the form of an almanac, lampooning the new Revolutionary institutions. The frontispiece (here in rare colour-printed state) is probably the first book illustration to depict a yo-yo, a toy which became a craze in France in the 1790s under the name of the émigrette, reflecting its popularity among the French nobility at precisely the time they were forced to flee their country. A 1789 painting of the future King Louis XVII now in the Louvre shows him with a yo-yo, while in a revival of the Mariage de Figaro of 1792 Beaumarchais brings his hero on stage playing with his émigrette.
Several issues are known from 1792. An issue with identical pagination and the same plate but with the imprint ‘chez les libraires royalistes’ is usually cited as the first. In this issue Maradan has put his own name on the title. cf. Martin & Walter, 22975; cf. Cohen-de Ricci, p. 677 (’Frontispice non signé, attribué par Mehl à Debaucourt. Ce frontispice existe en couleurs (avant la lettre) en bistre et à la sanguine’).