London: “The Walpole Press”, 1899. Item #02235
Art For Art's Sake, Love For Love's Sake
In An Art Binding For Its Own Sake
[BROCA, Lucien, Binder]. [WALPOLE PRESS]. GAUTIER, Théophile. Mademoiselle de Maupin. London: “The Walpole Press,” Printed for Subscribers Only, 1899.
Grand Edition De Luxe, limited to 1,000 numbered copies of which this is copy No. 33 (vol. 1) and No. 57 (vol. 2) on Japanese vellum. Two octavo volumes (8 3/8 x 5 1/4 in; 213 x 133 mm). lxxxiii, , 248, ; , 315,  pp. Nineteen etchings in two states each including frontispieces, with captioned tissue guards.
Contemporary Art Nouveau binding by Lucien Broca (stamp-signed) in full teal crushed morocco with double fillet borders enclosing an elaborate gilt frame of stemmed roses, leaves, figure-eights and dots with corner long-stemmed roses in vases. Compartments reiterating gilt motif. Broad, richly gilt-decorated dentelles. Custom patterned endpapers. Housed in full straight-grained navy blue morocco fleece-lined slipcases.
This beautiful edition of Mademoiselle de Maupin, originally published in 1835, has been completely translated by I.G. Burnham. The etchings are by Francois-Xavier Le Sueur and drawings by Édouard Toudouze.
The theme of the book is "art for art's sake" or "love for love's sake" or the complete purity of the love of beauty. The preface contains a lengthy essay on the subject which is the seminal document of the aesthete school of romanticism. The plot of the book, revolves around a romantic triangle. D'Albert and his mistress Rosette are both in love with Théadore whom neither of them knows is really Mlle. de Maupin. We are left with a book whose scandalous message is that love and passion can be aroused and bestowed solely for their own and beauty's sake, without regard for the sex of the beloved, or the expectations of society, convention or the individual, yet this same book cannot bring itself to contemplate that such feelings could find any physical expression. All the characters are iconoclasts and free thinkers, overpowered by wild and unbridled passion, and yet entirely chaste because they can think of no way to express it physically.
Master binder Lucien Broca was a Frenchman who came to London to work for Antoine Chatelin, and from 1876 to 1889 he was in partnership with Simon Kaufmann. From 1890 he appears under his own name in Shaftesbury Avenue, and in 1901 he was at Percy Street, calling himself an "Art Binder." He was recognized as a superb trade finisher, and Marianne Tidcombe has confirmed that he actually executed most of Sarah Prideaux's bindings from the mid-1890s.
Illustrator Edouard Toudouze was born on July 28, 1848 in Paris, into a privileged family deeply involved in the arts...He made his artistic debut at just nineteen years of age and embarked on a strong career exhibiting throughout Europe...Toudouze is credited with having executed many of the popular illustrations of the time including: Woodstock (Woodstock), Les Adventures de Nigel (The Adventures of Nigel), Mademoiselle de Maupin (Mademoiselle of Maupin), and Chronique du règne de Charles IX (Chronicle of the Reign of Charles IX). He equally illustrated many works by great French writers such as Honoré de Balzac and Prosper Mérimée...At the Exposition Universelle of 1889 he was awarded a silver medal and was also named a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur. He died in 1907.