BERTHAUD, [Claude-Louis, abbé]. ~ Le Quadrille des enfants, ou Système nouveau de lecture … quinzième edition, refondue et perfectionnée a l’usage des enfants; augmentée de Contes et d’Historiettes, par Mesdames de Genlis, Dufresnoy, de Beaufort d’Hautpol, de Montolieu et Hannah More; ornée de figures et de vignettes et accompagnée d’une boîte contenant 84 fiches. Paris: Arthis Bertrand, [n.d., c. 1830].
Large 8vo (234 × 145 mm), pp. , 120, plus 2 engraved plates (one a frontispiece) and 4 hand-coloured engraved plates. Some light foxing (mainly marginal) to the plates. Contemporary quarter cloth, marbled boards. Rubbed, but a very good copy.
[and:] ― Le Quadrille des Enfans ou Système nouveau de lecture par Berthaud. [c. 1830].
Yellow paper covered box (92 × 152 × 37 mm) with gilt papier gauffré borders, title in lithograph to lid. With four compartments containing 84 small bone pieces (20 white, 24 green, 20 red, and 20 yellow), each with pasted engraved slip to each side, corresponding to the text and images of the plates in the book.
A very rare complete set of both text and game box wth pieces, in a superb state of preservation. Berthaud’s reading method Quadrille des enfants, described as ‘une méthode [qui] parle aux yeux et auc oreilles’ was well-known since the 1740s, but was elaborated in the early nineteenth century, with additional stories and an accompanying box of game pieces. The book was also popular in English as Syllabic Spelling, or a Summary Method of teaching Children to Read (1820 and later editions),
The coloured diagrams (with 20 or 24 vignettes each, giving a total of 84) consist of finely coloured pictograms corresponding to the letters given in the letterpress tables. These are reproduced on the 84 coloured bone game pieces, where the pictograms and letters are pasted to both sides of each piece.
The text volume here is described as the fifteenth edition on its title, with a publisher’s address suggesting a publication date of 1830. On the basis of the very few surviving copies, it appears that the game box was added from at least the ninth edition of 1828, but it is very rare for a text and box to survive together in any edition. Sets complete with all 84 game pieces in almost perfect condition, as here, must be almost unknown. Not in Gumuchian or Cotsen (the latter describing a copy of the text only dated 1815, prior to the addition of the game box). The Cotsen collection at Princeton does, however, also contain an example of the game dated c. 1840s.