Métamorphoses d'Arlequin. Xavier LEPRINCE.
Métamorphoses d'Arlequin.
Métamorphoses d'Arlequin.
Métamorphoses d'Arlequin.
Métamorphoses d'Arlequin.
Métamorphoses d'Arlequin.
Métamorphoses d'Arlequin.
Métamorphoses d'Arlequin.
Métamorphoses d'Arlequin.

Métamorphoses d'Arlequin.

Bruxelles: , 1826. Item #02252

Scarce Odyssey of Harlequin
As a Character In France's Political Drama 1791-1826

[LEPRINCE, Xavier]. Métamorphoses de'Alequin. Parades. [Jouées sur le Théâtre Français. Bruxelles: n.p., 1826].

First edition. Oblong quarto. Twelve hand-colored lithographed stub-mounted plates, size: 10 5/8 x 14 1/8 inches (271 x 360 mm).

Bound late 19th century by G. Carayon in half deep cordovan straight-grain morocco over marbled boards. Bookplate of Ch. Bouret on front pastedown. Some very light foxing mainly on the first plate but still a fine copy.

Extremely scarce, with only one copy (at the BM) recorded by OCLC/KVK, and no copies coming to auction within the last thirty-six years. The BM atrributes this album to Henri-Gerard Fontallard but that cannot be so. Close comparison with caricatures signed by Leprince and Fontallard conclusively demonstrate that the style here is dramatically different than Fontallard's but extremely close to Leprince's, particularly in the faces of the figures depicted.

A fascinating and intriguing album that appears to be a political allegory with the theater as backdrop and Harlequin as character in the political events in France 1791-1826. The fact that the album was published, without publisher or artist attribution, in Belgium rather than France strongly suggests fear of running afoul of French press censorship laws of the era.

Auguste-Xavier Leprince (1799-1826), French painter and lithographer, 'was the son and pupil of the painter and lithographer Anne-Pierre Leprince and the elder brother of the painters Robert-Leopold Leprince (1800-47) and Gustave Leprince (1810-37). Leprince recieved a medal at his first Salon of 1819 for one of six entries, five of which wew landscapes of 17th century Dutch inspiration, which came possibly via the work of Jean-Louis Demarne. Leprince quickly learnt to vary the contents of his paintings: at the Salon of 1822 his entries included three Paris street scenes, three portraits, and two scenes on board a frigate. His numerous Paris street scenes usually depicted some well-known contemporary event...In the last year of his short life Leprince showed himself to be a sensitive watercolour painter and lithographer..." (Grove Dictionary of Art).

"G. Carayon was a 19th century French bookbinder. Yvan Christ, in an article in L'Estampille, describes his activity: 'Around 1875, bookbinder Carayon became an art cartonnage [paper over boards] bookbinder, featuring popular bindings in white velin boards and enhanced watercolors, using silk, cloth, leather, and Japon paper. The success of his cartonnage bindings was great. But bindings he made in a more conventional manner should not be forgotten'" (Trans. from Devaux, Dix Siecles de Reliere, p. 351).

The Plates:

1. 1re. Parade. - 1791. Columbine délaisée...
2. 2e. Parade. - 1795. L'Orateur Populaire...
3. 3e. Parade. - 1795. Le Directorien...
4. 4e. Parade. - 1799. - Le 18 Brumaire...
5. 5e. Parade. - 1800. - Le Grenadier des Consuls...
6. 6e. Parade. - 1808. - Le Chambellan...
7. 7e. Parade. - 1814. - Le Marquis de Bergame...
8. 8e. Parade. - 1815. Le Champ de Mai...
9. 9e. Parade. - 1820. Tartufe...
10. 10e. Parade. - 1823. Le Diner...
11. 11e. Parade. - 1825. La Clôture...
12. 12e. Parade. - 1826. Le Congréganiste.

Price: $2,800.00