Paris [&] Leipzig : G. De Gonet, Éditeur [&] Chez Charles Twietmeyer, 1849. Item #04602
Grandville’s “Last Fairy-Tale”
In a Superb Inlaid Binding by Charles Meunier
GRANDVILLE, J.J., illustrator] MÉRY, Joseph. MEUNIER, Charles, binder. Les Étoiles. Dernière féerie par J.-J. Grandville. Texte par Méry. Astronomie des dames par le C[om]te Foelix. Paris: G. De Gonet, Éditeur, [&] Leipzig: Chez Charles Twietmeyer, .
First edition. Two parts in one quarto volume (11 x 7 3/8 inches; 280 x 187 mm.). , xvi, 252; , 186,  pp. With added hand-colored wood-engraved vignette title in each part, hand-colored engraved portrait of Grandville by Ch. Geoffroy, and twelve hand-colored engraved plates (eleven in the first part, one in the second part) by Ch. Geoffroy after Grandville, all with original tissue-guards.
Handsomely bound by Charles Meunier, stamp-signed in black on front turn-in "Ch. Meunier. 1905". Full blue morocco, covers decoratively rued in gilt with gray morocco inlaid borders enclosing an elaborate design of inlaid gray, cream and green inlaid flowers with decorative gilt stems. Spine with four raised bands, decoratively inlaid in various colored morocco's, decorated and lettered in gilt in compartments. Decorative gilt board-edges, gilt ruled turn-ins with inlaid gay morocco borders, gray-green marbled endpapers, top edge trimmed, others uncut. Original printed paper wrappers and spine bound in at end. Unidentified bookplate "Nec Tu Semper Eris" (You will not always be) on verso of front flyleaf. Housed in the original blue leather edged, patterned paper board slipcase. A wonderful copy of this lovely book, with exquisite plates after Grandville.
“The compositions of this ‘last fairy-tale,’ brilliantly engraved on steel by Charles Geoffroy and delicately colored, form a fitting memorial to Grandville. They show that his powers remained unimpaired to the end of his short career. Grandville told his wife on the day he began these designs: ‘for too long I have kept my eyes lowered to the earth; now I want to lift them to the heavens’ (p. ix). The pattern which he follows is similar to that of Les fleurs animées. Nearly every plate has its beautiful lady, clad in white and adorned with stars, looming in the sky, with varied scenes of earthly life below her. These designs, Grandville’s tranquil refuge from the turmoil that beset his mind, are as charming as they are mysterious. Also included in the volume are an unsigned essay, which remains the most considerable source of biographical information about Grandville, and a fine portrait of him by Geoffroy (I, xvi) with a border of his creations, animals paying him tribute as well as his flower- and star-ladies” (Ray).
This posthumously published work (Grandville died on March 17, 1847) was originally issued in fifty parts, the first part appearing in September 1849.
Charles Meunier (1865-1940) began his apprenticeship as a bookbinder at age eleven. Five years later, at age sixteen, he joined master binder Marius-Michel's workshop. He soon grew weary of producing traditional bindings and established his own bindery in 1885, at the tender age of twenty years old. CM was thought to be innovative and instinctive, with great reserves of energy and undeniable artistic talent... Drawing on traditional and modern techniques and forms of decoration, Meuniere mixed classical punches... with newly fashionable incised and modeled leather panels. His output was prodigious; by 1897 he had produced roughly six hundred bindings" (Art Nouveau and Art Deco Bookbinding, p. 194).
Ray, The Art of the French Illustrated Book, 200. Vicaire V, col. 770. Grandville. Dessins Originaux, p. 398.