Nouvel abécédaire en enigmes

Victor Adam’s “New Alphabet in Enigmas”

ADAM, V[ictor]. Nouvel Abécédaire en Enigmes. Paris: Publié par Aubert & Cie. [and] London: Published by Charles Tilt [and] New-York: Published by Bailly Ward & Co., [n.d., ca. 1840].

Folio (13 1/4 x 9 13/16 inches; 337 x 250 mm.). Hand-colored lithographed title and twenty-six hand-colored lithographed plates, heightened with gum arabic, each containing numerous humorous vignettes. Plate “W” incorrectly bound after “Z” instead of after “V.” Lithographed “Explication des Sujets composant L’abécédaire en énigmes/Explanation of the Subjects composing The Enigmatical abecedary” (recto of one leaf) and [4] pp. publisher’s advertisements at end.

Contemporary half dark green roan over green moiré paper boards. Covers decoratively panelled in gilt, front cover lettered in gilt, smooth spine decoratively tooled in gilt, marbled endpapers. Minor rubbing to extremities. Minimal foxing and soiling, some slight offsetting, small stain in the upper blank corner of the first six leaves. An excellent copy of this extremely scarce series of plates. We have been able to locate only two copies, one at the University of South Florida (OCLC) and one at the Austrian National Library (KVK).

“Beraldi assigns between 7000 and 8000 designs to Victor Adam [1801-1865]…A Parisian by birth, he remained in the capital all his life, but this did not prevent him from drawing negroes, Turks, Chinese, and other peoples all over the world in his Paris studio. He was famous, indeed, as a faiseur de bonshommes, that is to say a specialist in adding groups of small figures to the foreground of architectural or landscape drawings by other artists…His immense production contains many amusing albums concerning the life of the time” (Ray, The Art of the French Illustrated Book, p. 194). Item #00636

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