Paris: A. Capendu, 1889. Item #04128
A Very Rare Transformation Book
Featuring A Chimney Sweep
[TRANSFORMATION BOOK]. DELCOURT, Pierre. Le Ramoneur. (The Chimney Sweep). Librairie Enfantine Illustrée, Original Paris: A. Capendu, editeur, [ca. 1889].
Small quarto (8 1/2 x 6 3/8 inches; 216 x 162 mm.). Ten unnumbered pages, four with green silk 'pulls' to operate a colored lithograph flap which changes the center of the colored lithograph picture.
Publisher's quarter red cloth over boards. The front cover is of glazed pale blue boards with a full-size color picture of Jack the Chimney Sweep, the rear board is of tan boards with a central and corner designs printed in black. The endpapers have been expertly replaced, otherwise fine.
The movable plates:
1. Jacques se trouve à califourchon sur la cheminée
2. La voiture improvisée chavra
3. Le petit Bob aux champs
4. L,âne jeta bas son cavalier (there appears to be a printed date of 1889)
According to OCLC and KVK there are no copies in libraries and institutions worldwide
Chimney cleaning (sweeping) is a very old occupation, as old as the chimneys themselves, but it was not until the 18th century that chimneys became large enough for a man to pass through, giving birth To the typical image of the chimney sweep that developed during the industrial revolution . In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in Western Europe, the construction of gables in staircases became common in order to allow easy access to the chimney. With the increase of the urban population, the number of chimney houses increased and the chimney sweep became more respected and sought after, although he is sometimes ridiculed by worms, ballads and pantomimes .
In the Victorian era in the United Kingdom, the profession was known for the use of young boys thin enough to sneak inside the chimneys to clean them from the inside. They were nicknamed the climbing boys . The work was dirty and risky, and their employers had a reputation as exploiters. The same was true in France, where, traditionally, chimney sweepers were mostly young Savoyards who had gone from their country under the guidance of an elder to work in the big cities.