Paris & London: Paulin Libraire-Éditeur, Colnaghi, Son and Co, 1832. Item #04777
The Manners of French Society
Executed with Gentle Satire
MONNIER, Henry. CRUIKSHANK, George. Distractions, par Henry Monnier to is friend George Cruikshank. Paris & London: Paulin Libraire-Éditeur, Colnaghi, Son and Co., 1832.
First edition. Oblong folio (11 x 16 inches; 280 x 406 mm.). Lithographed title-page with hand-colored vignette by George Cruikshank, and six (of nine) fine hand colored lithographed plates with twenty-nine titled images, lithographed by Delarue after Henry Monnier.
An original album of six (of nine**) hand colored lithographed plates (plus the George Cruikshank plate) from this exceptionally rare series. Later plain wrappers, stitched as issued. A fine example. Housed in a fleece-lined, half dark green morocco over green cloth boards clamshell case. Spine with five raised bands decoratively ruled and lettered in gilt.
Our plate count (of six) is identical to the copy in the Bibliotheque National de France. Champfleury also lists six plates and a frontispiece.
“Between 1825 and 1827 Monnier passed much of his time in London, where he collaborated with Lami in what was to become the Voyage en Angleterre. On his return to Paris he embarked on a series of albums in which he recorded the manners and humors of the city with unprecedented profusion. Between 1826 and 1830 he satisfied the insatiable demand for his designs with almost 500 lithographs, nearly all of which were drawn with a pen and colored by hand. For each design he himself colored a master print and carefully supervised its subsequent preparation…Some of the salient titles in his human comedy may be mentioned. There are potpourris like Recréations du coeur et de l’esprit, Paris vivant, and Rencontres Parisiennes. Macédoine pittoresque. There are more closely focussed surveys like Les grisettes, Moeurs administratives, Galerie théâtrale, Boutiques de Paris, and Six Quartiers de Paris. There are suites like Jadis et aujourd’hui and Les contrastes, which take their departure from comparisons in time or of manners…Monnier was a satirist with a difference. His attitude towards his subjects hardly varies. His aim was to set down what he saw with elegance and precision, but with no overt interpretation or judgment” (Ray, The Art of the French Illustrated Book, p. 199).
We have never seen another example of this excessively rare suite of plates.
** Marie list nine plates but the copy in the Bibliotheque Nationale de France has six plates. This is the second copy that we have seen in over fifty years and the previous copy also had six plates.
We have located only two copies in institutions worldwide: Rijks Museum, Amsterdam (no plate count); Bibliotheque National de France (6 plates).
Bobins III, 986 (with pictorial title and ten? hand colored plates, each with a number of vignettes); Marie, 475, 476, 478, 479, 480 & 482.(p. 256); Not in Ray; Not in Melcher; Not in Cohn.