Paris: Librairie Charles Tallandier, 1898. Item #05039
A Fine Pictorial Inlaid Binding by Franz Ostermann
Specially Bound for Sir Henry Harben
[BINDING]. OSTERMANN, Franz, binder, aka FRANZ. PRÉVOST, L'Abbé. LELOIR, Maurice, illustrator. Histoire de Manon Lescaut et du Chevalier des Grieux. Préface de Guy de Maupassant. Illustrations de Maurice Leloir. Paris: Librairie Charles Tallandier, .
Large octavo (9 13/16 x 6 3/8 inches; 250 x 162 mm.). xxiv, 203, [1, blank], [2, list of illustrations & contents], [1, printer's statement], [1, printer's emblem] pp. Twelve color plates, two black & white plates, each leaf of text with a black & white vignette.
Bound ca. 1905 by Franz Ostermann (stamp signed in gilt "Franz" on front turn-in). Full green crushed levant morocco.
Front cover with an elaborate inlaid design (taken from the second chapter heading vignette on p. 113) in multi-colored morocco's depicting Manon and Des Grieux… "Folding her in my arms, I rained a hundred fond kisses on her lips, and besought her to forgive my angry words, confessing that I was a brutal wretch and utterly unworthy of the happiness of being loved by such an adorable woman as herself". Also with the gilt arms and Latin motto "Summis Viribus" (Greatest Strength) of Sir Henry Harben. Rear cover with a smaller but equally elaborate inlaid design in multi colored morocco's (taken from the vignette on p. 85) depicting Des Grieux and and his his loyal friend Tiberge "I thanked M. de Tiberge for rendering me so important a service; and, returning his confidence unreservedly…". Spine with four raised bands, with in the center an inlaid design of Des Grieux surrounded by an anchor and a fine gilt design, lettered in gilt in compartments. Double gilt-ruled board edges, elaborate gilt floral turn-ins, colored silk liners with gold thread floral design, front and rear free endpapers also in colored silk with gold thread floral design, additional green marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. With the original pictorial printed front wrapper and plain rear wrapper bound in. Absolutely fine.
Housed in the original quarter green morocco over green marbled boards (same as endpapers), felt-lined chemise, spine with four raised bands lettered in gilt in compartments (slightly faded), in turn housed in the original matching green morocco edged, green marbled board slipcase.
Franz Ostermann (184? - 1938). Bookbinder of Alsatian origin, who always signed his bindings with his first name. He trained in Strasbourg before moving to Paris and opening his workshop in 1872 at 80 boulevard Malesherbes. He moved his workshop to 28 rue Ampère in 1902. Thirty-one of his bindings were sold at auction at Drouot Richelieu in Paris in 2008 (Piasa Livres Anciens et Modernes December 2nd, 2008).
Antoine François Prévost d'Exiles (1697-1763), usually known simply as the Abbé Prévost, was a French author and novelist.
The Story of the Chevalier des Grieux and Manon Lescaut Histoire du Chevalier des Grieux, et de Manon Lescaut is a novel by Antoine François Prévost. Published in 1731, it is the seventh and final volume of Mémoires et aventures d'un homme de qualité (Memoirs and Adventures of a Man of Quality). The story, set in France and Louisiana in the early eighteenth century, follows the hero, the Chevalier des Grieux, and his lover, Manon Lescaut. Controversial in its time, the work was banned in France upon publication. Despite this, it became very popular and pirated editions were widely distributed. In a subsequent 1753 edition, the Abbé Prévost toned down some scandalous details and injected more moralizing disclaimers.
Seventeen-year-old Des Grieux, studying philosophy at Amiens, comes from a noble and landed family, but forfeits his hereditary wealth and incurs the disappointment of his father by running away with Manon on her way to a convent. In Paris, the young lovers enjoy a blissful cohabitation, while Des Grieux struggles to satisfy Manon's taste for luxury. He acquires money by borrowing from his unwaveringly loyal friend Tiberge and by cheating gamblers. On several occasions, Des Grieux's wealth evaporates (by theft, in a house fire, etc.), prompting Manon to leave him for a richer man because she cannot stand the thought of living in penury.
The two lovers finally end up in New Orleans, to which Manon has been deported as a prostitute, where they pretend to be married and live in idyllic peace for a while. But when Des Grieux reveals their unmarried state to the Governor and asks to be wed with Manon, the Governor's nephew sets his sights on winning Manon's hand. In despair, Des Grieux challenges the Governor's nephew to a duel and knocks him unconscious. Thinking he had killed the man and fearing retribution, the couple flee New Orleans and venture into the wilderness of Louisiana, hoping to reach an English settlement. Manon dies of exposure and exhaustion the following morning and, after burying his beloved, Des Grieux is eventually taken back to France by Tiberge.
Maurice Leloir (1853-1940) was a French illustrator, watercolourist, draftsman, printmaker, writer and collector. Leloir was the son, and pupil, of painter Auguste Leloir and watercolorist Héloïse Suzanne Colin, daughter of painter Alexandre-Marie Colin. His brother, Alexandre-Louis Leloir was also a well known painter and illustrator. Leloir married Céline Bourdier, with whom he had a daughter, Suzanne Leloir, who married Philippe, the son of Pauline Savari in 1912. Leloir first exhibited his work at the Salon des Artistes Français, of which he became the secretary. With many other painters, he was a member of the Crozant School in the valleys of Creuse. In 1907, he was the founding president of the Société de l'histoire du costume, and he donated the family's collection of fashion prints to the society.
Around the 1890s, Leloir and his students flooded the picture book market, inspired by photographs representing accurately costumes and attitudes of the past, much appreciated by bibliophiles. He was a prolific illustrator of books, especially for children, such as the Richelieu by Théodore Cahu, of magazines and fans. In 1929, Leloir traveled to Hollywood at the urging of Douglas Fairbanks to work on his last silent film, The Iron Mask. He chronicled his experiences in his memoir Five Months in Hollywood with Douglas Fairbanks.
Harben, Henry, Sir (1823 -1911). The pioneer of industrial life assurance, Henry Harben rose to become President of the Prudential Assurance Company. He was knighted in 1897. He married Ann Such in 1846, with whom he had one son. In 1900 Sir Henry was elected the first mayor of the newly created Metropolitan Borough of Hampstead. In 1877 arms were granted to Henry Harben of Seaford Lodge, Hampstead, London.
Fléty, Julien. Dictionnaire des relieurs français ayant exercé de 1800 à nos jours. Paris, 1988.
Suares, Alain. Le livre de l'émeraude. Paris 1927.