London: E. & C. M'Lean, 1823 & D. Alexander, 1823. Item #04773
Scarce First British Appearance of Boilly's Grimaces
Eleven Superb Hand Colored Lithographs
BOILLY, Louis-Léopold. Boilly's Humorous Designs. London: E. & C. M'Lean, 1823 & D. Alexander, 1824.
A fine collection from the first UK publication of Boilly's initial plates from his Recueil de Grimaces (1823).
Folio (14 5/8 x 10 3/8 inches; 372 x 264 mm). Eleven superb hand-colored lithographed plates after Boilly.
Plate numbers one & six are watermarked "J. Whatman 1823".
Original half red morocco over drab gray boards, expertly rebacked to style, original rectangular red morocco label on front cover lettered in gilt "Humorous Designs by L. Boilly". Later endpapers. A superb collection with bright and vivid hand coloring.
1. Grimaces. Pl:1. Pubd by E & C McLean (Emotions- five male figures)
2. Grimaces. Pl:2. Pubd by E & C McLean (Emotions- five female figures)
3. Grimaces. Pl:3. Pubd by E & C McLean (five men tasting gruel)
4. Grimaces. Pl:4. Pubd by E & C McLean (four men and one woman expressions)
5. Grimaces. Pl:5. Pubd by E & C McLean (five men - various expressions)
6. Grimaces. Pl:6. Pubd by E & C McLean (three men and two women smoking, drinking and using snuff)
7. Beggars. London Pub. by E & C McLean - 1823 (five male beggars)
8. Grimaces. Drawn on Stone and Published by D Alexander, 10 Belgrade Place East Lane, Walworth Road (PL.5)
(four men and a woman - various expressions)
9. Mustachios. Drawn on Stone and Published by D Alexander, 10 Belgrade Place East Lane, Walworth Road Nov: 1824 (Pl. 2) (two boys and one girl drawing a moustache on another sleeping young girl)
10. Perfect Felicity. Drawn on Stone and Published by D Alexander, 10 Belgrade Place East Lane, Walworth Rd. (PL.VI)
(A man and a woman drinking wine and getting drunk)
11. O you ugly Dog! L. Boilly Aglio Lith. (three boys pointing to an 'ugly' figure)
From 1823 to 1828 Boilly worked on a series of ninety-five lithographs, all caricatures representing various human emotions, such as alarm, menace, pain, disgust, or exasperation.
"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 abandoned 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.
(Susan Siegfried. The Art of Louis-Léopold Boilly, p. 122-123).