An autograph copy of a classic text of French orientalism, made by the author for his wife and inscribed ‘À Etelka, ma femme bien-aimée, qui est pour moi toute la splendour du monde et toute la poësie.more...
Franz Toussaint. Mai 1936.’
Le Jardin des caresses. Traduit de l'arabe, consisting of Toussaint’s interpretation of Moorish poems, partly anonymous, written in tenth-century Spain, first appeared serially in the Mercure de France and Revue de Paris in 1909-1911, then published together in 1911 and reprinted and translated in numerous editions throughout the twentieth century (the Golden Cockerel Press printed an English edition in 1934). Its numerous short stanzas, whose titles include: ‘Les Seins, les yeux, et la chevelure’, ‘Les oiseaux de la mosquée’, ‘La Sultane de l’amour’, ‘Al Maghreb’, ‘Les Sorciers’, ‘L’Astronome’ and ‘La Volupueuse’proved especially suitable for musical settings and so the work also found huge popularity in song.
Toussaint is an interesting figure, both a respected scholarly translator of Arabic and other eastern languages, and a director of silent films, the best-known of which is Inch’Allah of 1922. This appealing little manuscript was evidently made by the author as a gift for his second wife, Turkish-born Adelaïde Etelca Stefania Braggiotti, who he married in 1925. .see full details
First edition, second issue (Londres and La Haye imprint).more...
Intended as the first of a projected series of works with the general title Idées singulières, Le Pornographe is an important early manifesto for the regulation of prostitution. It also holds a significant place in the historical etymology of pornography: meaning literally ‘one who writes about prostitutes’, being the first modern coinage of a word used by the ancient Greeks.
Restif issued the work anonymously, presenting it with a preface claiming that the idea was not a French invention at all but one found in the manuscript of an Englishman by the name of Lewis Moore. In a series of letters, the work presents an anatomy of prostitution, noting its inevitability in cities such as Paris and its dangers to public health and morality. Most interestingly, it then outlines a system of regulations, with well-managed maisons publiques, in which prostitutes are required to stay, where they are protected and cared for and where customers are strictly controlled. A major pre-occupation is the contemporary anxiety over the (wrongly) perceived decline in population, a decline to which prostitution was seen to have contributed. Restif proposes that pregnant prostitutes be required to fulfil their pregnancies and that their children should be brought up and educated within the maisons publiques and to take up alternative professions when of age.
This early work by Restif encapsulates both his social realism his utopian aspirations, both of which became major aspects of his later novels.
The imprint is false and the work was published in Paris by Delalain, who sold the author’s works, but who deleted his own name from the imprint after the first impression. The two issues are identical save for the title-page..see full details
First edition, one of 500 copies, poems in French and English.more...
Raymond Duncan (brother of Isadora Duncan) was born in San Francisco but spent much of his life in Europe. He worked variously as a dancer, artist, craftsman, poet and philosopher and with his Greek wife Penelope Sekilianos, pioneered a holistic life-style based on ancient Greek principles. He founded a school based on authentic ancient Greek philosophy in rue de Seine and printed several works, like this, on his own handpress. He was a well-known Left Bank figure until his death in 1966, going about his work in Greek robes..see full details
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
First edition with these illustrations, an attractive production with text and plates engraved throughout With an original signed drawing.more...
Example 22 of 35 copies on Arches, (there are a further 60 copies on vélin and 5 on Japon). Musset’s 1853 witty story of amorous intrigues with Madame de Pompadour at the court of Louis XV..see full details
One of 275 copies. 5. A wonderfully illustrated edition of Poe’s 1871 tale. Goerg was one of the major illustrative artists of his generation, he was influenced by the works of Bosch and Bruegel and created paintings about the tragedy of the human condition. It seems that he began book illustration later on in his career, working on publications such as Hoffmann’s Contes, and Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du mal. There have been a number of retrospectives of his work, perhaps most notably at the Grand Palais in 1988, (Grove Art). This book shows his exceptional talent for engraving and depicting the human form. .see full details
Number 13 of 30 copies on papier d’Arches. A collection of 25 wood engravings numbered and signed by the artist, which seem to be an experimentation with shape and form. It also includes original poems by Kliemand. .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
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
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
Number 16 of 180 copies on vélin d’Arches. An illustrated copy of Mirbeau’s 1900 novel about a maid Celestine, through her eyes the reader discovers the nauseating reality of the dominant classes and bourgeois society beneath the surface of their ‘honourable’ lives. The book includes suites of plates from two different illustrators, the main illustrator being Lobel-Riche, known for his work on books such as Les Fleurs du mal, Baudelaire and Salome, by Wilde. The second artist Courbouleix is responsible for the additional suite of etchings. .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
Contains rules and regulations (Chapters under Titre I - X) governing the activities and protocol of employees of the Palais impérial de France, including the activities of the Garde impériale in the service of ‘l’Impereur et de l’Impératrice’ and ‘Grands officiers de la Couronne’, and rules for conducting ceremonies in the Chapel.more...
This is also a guide to appropriate formal behaviour in the Napoleonic court, published just two years after Napoleon crowned himself Emperor of France. Extremely precise descriptions of all court proceedings are provided, detailing the etiquette of processions, balls and concerts, pages’ service, etiquette of bureaucratic functions... and the preparation of the Emperor’s breakfast.
Although the Bibliotheque nationale catalogue records an edition of of 1805, this 1806 edition is considered the first complete codification. It was revised and reissued several times..see full details
A delightful, if heartrending, late eighteenth-century manuscript testimony to a lost love, using the 128 blank pages bound with a pre-Revolutionary printed almanac.more...
In a long epistle, the anonymous author addresses his lover, Clarice, and traces the origins and progress of their love in innocent glances, family meals and garden walks. No sooner was their love hatched than the author was called away—an absence which seems to have distracted Clarice, who ceased to write to him and became indifferent. The monogram ‘CF’ on both covers must denote Clarice herself, and the perhaps the author’s own name, whose thoughtful and elegant prose may have been intended as a gift for his lost love. It is presumably entirely unpublished..see full details
First edition, large paper copy on vergé (and rare thus).more...
The scandalous memoirs of Philadelphia-born Harriet Ely Blackford, dubbed ‘Fanny Lear’, who conducted an affair with Grand Duke Nicholas Constantinovich, nephew of Czar Nicholas I between 1870 and 1874. In 1874 she was accused of stealing diamonds belonging to the imperial family and was banished from the court..see full details
First edition, a rare account of the short and tragic life of Ivan Antanovitch, who reigned briefly as an infant Emperor of Russia from 1740-1 before being spirited away after the coup of Elizabeth of Russia in 1741 and then conveniently assassinated in 1764, shortly after the accession of Catherine the Great.more...
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