Paris: Chez Bulla, 1829. Item #03962
First Edition of Grandville's Les Metamorphoses du Jour
GRANDVILLE, J.J. (Illustrator). Les Metamorphoses du jour. Paris: Chez Bulla, 1829.
The exceptionally rare first edition of this famous series of political caricatures.
Oblong folio (10 3/16 x 13 1/4 inches; 258 x 338 mm.). Original lithographed front wrapper dated 1829 bound in at front (expertly restored at top margin just touching title). One leaf of letterpress with the Preface by Achille Comte,
and seventy-one hand-colored lithographed plates.
Bound ca. 1880 in half medium green morocco over green patterned boards, ruled in gilt. Spine with five raised bands elaborately tooled and lettered in gilt in compartments, marbled end-papers. Small circular book-plate on front paste-down. Plates 42 & 49 very slightly shorter on lower margin, plate 70 with upper corner (2 x 1 inches) torn away, not affecting image. Some sporadic and very light water-staining to top margins of a few plates.
Very scarce in this, the first edition. This copy bound without his two final plates ('Famille des scarabées' no. 72) and state ('Une bête féroce,' no. 73) which were not permitted in France.
"This famous album, which established Granville's early stye of bitter burlesque, has become rare. Indeed, it is known to many of his admirers only through the greatly inferior album of seventy wood-engraved reproductions published by Harvard in 1854…Lust, gluttony, anger, and the other deadly sins are stigmatized, now with the blow of a hammer, now with the thrust of a stiletto; while the foibles and humors of mankind also receive due attention. Throughout the series Grandville's choice of beast-heads is inspired; and the force of his conceptions and the wit of his captions rarely falter. Occasionally, he produces a design of universal application that calls Goya to mind, as in the bat and owl creatures bewildered by the sunshine of 'The light that hurts them' (no. 12). Perhaps his most terrifying plate is 'Ménagerie (no. 67), which shows four prison cells. In the first are complacent commercial offenders, enjoying all the comforts of home; in the second violent criminals, sly or stupid; in the third murderers, one with a countenance of the utmost ferocity; in the forth, political prisoners, quiet and despondent…Granville turned to direct political satire in his final plates, but the publication of his onslaughts on church ('Famille des scarabées' no. 72) and state ('Une bête féroce,' no. 73) was not permitted in France" (Ray).
Vicaire V, 775-780. Ray, The Art of the French Illustrated Book, 132. Backer 762.