Paris: Chez Delpech, 1820. Item #04696
Charles Vernet's 'Cries of Paris'
Illustrated with One Hundred Fine Hand Colored Lithograph Plates
VERNET, C[arle]. [Cris de Paris dessinés d’après nature]. Paris: Chez Delpech, [n.d., ca. 1820].
First Edition. Large folio (14 5/16 x 10 7/8 inches; 363 x 275 mm.). One hundred very fine hand-colored lithographed plates, all mounted on stubs. Bound without the lithograph title-page. Plate no. 11 a little foxed in margins, some marginal soiling and or light spotting to plates. Plate numbers 13, 18, 41, 45, 63, and 87 very slightly shorter at lower margins. Plates 89 through 96 with very small (1/4 inch) tears on lower blank margins.
The plates depict street vendors offering a multitude of wares, including cakes, roses, cherries, bread, umbrellas, melons, baskets, pears, lottery tickets, almanachs, marionettes, wooden clocks, asparagus, artichokes, barometers, potatoes, dogs, and fagots. All of the plates have printed titles which indicate the wares of the trader and the words of his (or her) cry.
Late nineteenth century quarter red morocco over marbled boards. Smooth spine with five raised bands, ruled in blind and lettered in gilt. Marbled end-papers, top edge gilt, others uncut.
A wonderful example of this extremely rare color-plate book. According to ABPC no complete copy (100 plates) has appeared at auction for over thirty years.
“This celebrated series, prized by the sociologist as well as the historian of costume, has become almost unfindable complete because of an insatiable demand from hotelkeepers seeking wall decorations. In fine contemporary coloring its 100 lithographs are most attractive. The streets of Paris in Vernet’s time seem to have been an out-of-doors department store which catered to most needs for goods and services. His itinerants are a sturdy and impassive lot, inured to hardship but not defeated by it. It will be noted that Vernet was content to portray the honest poor; he did not extend his attention to Henry Mayhew’s category of ‘those who will not work.’ The street entertainer, with his cry of ‘don’t forget the little marionettes’ (plate 63), is particularly engaging” (Ray).
Colas also remarks that this interesting series of plates has become scarce, particularly as the plates were often broken and framed. He adds that reproductions have been made recently [before 1933] but "that these are easy to spot due to the quality of the paper and the mediocrity of the colours."
Colas 2986. Hiler, p. 874. Lipperheide 1186. Bobins, II, #555. Ray, The Art of the French Illustrated Book, 121.