London: E. & C. M'Lean, 1823. Item #02545
Scarce First British Appearance of Boilly's Grimaces
BOILLY, Louis-Léopold. Boilly's Humorous Designs. Seven Plates, Coloured After the Original Drawings. Price One Guinea. London: E. & C. M'Lean, 1823.
First UK publication of a selection of Boilly's initial plates from his Recueil de Grimaces (1823). Folio (14 1/2 x 11 in; 375 x 275 mm). Seven hand-colored lithographed plates after Boilly with original tissue guards.
Original printed buff wrappers. An excellent copy, housed in a later black cloth portfolio, lettered in gilt on front cover and with the bookplate of Alfred N. Beadleston.
Exceedingly scarce, with only one copy in institutional holdings worldwide, at Harvard's Houghton Library
"Address to the Public. On or before November the 1st, will be Published by E. and C. M'Lean, a Second Series of Boilly's Designs, executed in the same superior and elegant form. October 1, 1823" (inside front wrapper).
The first plate is unnumbered and the only one with title, Reading the Will ("La lecture du testament," Les Grimaces 10 in the French original). The remaining six plates are identified only as Grimaces Pl. 1 through Grimaces Pl. 6. Grimaces Pl. 1 is Les Grimaces 1 in the French original; Grimaces Pl. 2 is Les Grimaces 6; Grimaces Pl. 3 is Les Grimaces 3; Grimaces Pl. 4 is Les Grimaces 7; Grimaces Pl. 6 is Les Grimaces 34, "Les Fumeurs et les Priseurs. We've yet to identify the French original of Grimaces Pl. 5 but it is likely within the first ten plates of Recueil de Grimaces.
"Today, at least outside France, Boilly is best known for his lithographs. Although credited with having drawn the first lithograph in France in 1802, he did not return to the medium until 1822, when he more or less abondoned oil painting. The caricatural aspects of his lithographic work go back to the English caricaturists Cruikshank, Gillray, and Rowlandson and the earlier innovations of Hogarth. His most popular series of lithographs, Recueil de Grimaces, was published between 1823 and 1828... The vignetted subjects of these prints appear to be cut out and applied to a plain background, a format also used by Pigal during the Restoration. The series was so popular that Philipon's printer Aubert re-published it in 1837 under the new title Groupes physionomiques...
"The series Recueil de Grimaces, published over the course of five years, included ninety-six lithographs... Boilly's popularity during the Restoration was largely due to this series. The interest in expressive heads had precedent in France... During the late eighteenth century, physiognomy, the art of reading inner character by means of facial expressions, was popularized by engravings illustrating Lavater's well-known Essays on Physiognomy, which may well have influenced the format of Boilly's Recueil de Grimaces' (The Charged Image: French Lithographic Caricature).
The son of a wood-carver, Louis-Léopold Boilly lived in Douai until he was seventeen years of age, when he went to Arras to receive instruction in trompe-l'oeil painting at Domenica Doncre before moving to Paris in 1785. Between 1789 and 1791 he executed eight small scenes on moralizing and amorous subjects for the Avignon collector Esprit-Claude-François Calvet (1728–1810), including The Visit (1789; Saint-Omer, Musée Hôtel Sandelin). He exhibited at the Salon between 1791 and 1824 and received a gold medal at the Salon in 1804. These paintings thoroughly observed and reflected all aspects of urban life, its costumes and its habits, between the revolutionary period and the Restoration. In 1823, Boilly produced a series of humorous lithographies entitled Grimaces. In 1833, at a time when his popularity was declining, he was admitted to the Légion d’honneur and the Institut de France. His three sons, Julien Léopold (1796-1874), Édouard (1799-1854) and Alphonse Léopold (1801-1867), were also painters.
The Art of Louis-Léopold Boilly, p. 122-123.
Alfred Nash Beadleston, Sr. (1848–1915), partner in the Beadleston & Woerz Empire brewery of New York City, made headlines when, in 1909, the 60 year old Beadleston married 21 year old Helen F. Hazard (1888–1937), daughter of Edward Clarke Hazard of the grocery firm E. C. Hazard and Company, thus uniting stale old beer and ripe fresh groceries in one cart down the supermarket aisle.