Paris [&] London: V. Morlet [&] McLean, 1830. Item #04748
Twelve Superb Hand-Colored Lithographed Plates
Depicting Scenes from the Debtor's Prison of Sainte-Pélagie
[ADAM, Victor, illustrator]. Album de Sainte-Pélagie, Prison de la Dette. [Gravures réhaussées à l'aquarelle. Douze scènes intérieures dessinées et lithographiées d’après nature par V. Adam]. Paris [&] London: Publié par V. Morlot [&] Mc.Léan, [n.d., ca. 1830].
Oblong folio (10 5/8 x 13 7/8 inches; 270 x 352 mm.).  pp. of descriptive text. Twelve numbered hand-colored lithographed plates. Plates lithographed by Bernard. Each plate with the publisher's oval blind-stamp in lower blank margin. Bound without the printed title-page.
Mid-nineteenth century red calf over marbled boards, smooth spine ruled and lettered in gilt. A superb example with fine contemporary hand-coloring.
The plates are captioned: “L’Écrou;” “Chambre du détenu malheureux;” “Chambre du détenu philosophe;” “Les Élections;” “Le Cabinet de lecture;” “Le Cabaret;“ “Le Café;” “Le Repas dans la cour;” “Les Jeux dans la cour;” “Le Bain du créancier;” “Le Paye;” and “Sortie du débiteur;.”
Exceptionally rare. We have only seen this book once before - a copy with modern hand-coloring which we sold in 2003.
OCLC locates just one copy - BCU Dorigny (Lausanne, Switzerland).
Jean Victor Adam (1801-1866) was a French painter and lithographer. Born in Paris he was the son of Jean Adam, an esteemed engraver. During the years 1814 to 1818 he studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, and also in the ateliers of Meynier and Régnault. In 1819 he exhibited 'Herminia succouring Tancred.' He was almost immediately afterwards employed to paint various subjects for the Museum at Versailles, amongst which are, 'The Entry of the French into Mainz,' 'The Battle of Varroux,' 'The Taking of Menin, 'The Battle of Castiglione,' 'The Passage of the Cluse,' 'The Battle of Montebello,' 'The Capitulation of Meiningen;' the last three in association with Alaux. He also exhibited down to the year 1838: 'Henry IV., after the Battle of Coutras,' 'Trait of Kindness in the Duke de Berri,' 'The Postillion,' 'The Vivandiere,' 'The Road to Poissy,' 'The Return from the Chase,' 'Horse-fair at Caen,' and numerous other subjects. He then retired from publicity, till 1846, when he appeared as the exhibitor of some works in lithography, to which branch of art he afterwards restricted himself. In this line he produced a lithographic album, 'Views in the Environs of Paris,' 'Studies of Animals for an edition of Buffon,' &c. He obtained a gold medal in 1824, a second class medal in 1836, besides several others from Lille, Douai, and other cities. He died at Viroflay in 1866.
“Beraldi assigns between 7000 and 8000 designs to Victor Adam [1801-1865]…A Parisian by birth, he remained in the capital all his life, but this did not prevent him from drawing negroes, Turks, Chinese, and other peoples all over the world in his Paris studio. He was famous, indeed, as a faiseur de bonshommes, that is to say a specialist in adding groups of small figures to the foreground of architectural or landscape drawings by other artists…His immense production contains many amusing albums concerning the life of the time” (Ray, The Art of the French Illustrated Book, p. 194).
Sainte-Pélagie was a debtor's prison in Paris, in active use from 1790 to 1899. The former Parisian prison was located between the current group of buildings bearing No. 56 Rue de la Clef with Rue du Puits-de-l'Ermite in the 5th arrondissement of Paris at the old Place Sainte-Pélagie. The penal structure held many noted prisoners during the French Revolution, with Madame Roland, Grace Dalrymple Elliott and Marie-Louise O'Murphy being among the known prisoners. After the revolution, the Marquis de Sade was imprisoned here, as was the young mathematician Évariste Galois. During the July Monarchy, the "April insurgees" were also detained there, and some managed to escape through a tunnel. The painter Gustave Courbet was also imprisoned there for his activities in the Paris Commune.