Paris: Gabriel De Gonet, Éditeur, 1847. Item #05519
Grandville's Favorite Work
"Poetic and Gracious Originality, Dexterity of Mind and Observation"
[GRANDVILLE, J.J., illustrator]. DELORD, Taxile. Les Fleurs Animées. Introductions Par Alph. Karr, Texte Par Taxile Delord Première Partie [&] Deuxième Partie. Paris: Gabriel De Gonet, Éditeur, [no date but 1847].
First edition, second issue, with discontinued pagination in vol. II and with the frontispieces signed
"E. de Soye, à Paris".
Two large octavo volumes bound in one (10 x 6 3/4 inches; 254 x 172 mm.).
[ii], blank], [iii-v], 6-260, [2, table des matières]; [iv], [i]-iv, -102,-166, [2 table des matières, verso blank], [i]-iv, -234, [2, table des matières, verso blank] pp. Added hand-colored wood-engraved title in each volume, fifty hand-colored wood-engraved plates by Geoffroy after Grandville, and two unsigned engraved botanical plates. All plates with original tissue-guards. The final sections are “Botanique des dames,” which includes two botanical plates illustrating the physiology of plants, “Horticulture des dames,” and “Culture des fleurs."
Publishers full dark brown morocco over beveled boards, covers elaborately stamped in gilt. Spine with five shallow raised bands, elaborately decorated and lettered in gilt in compartments, gilt baord edges, pale gray endpapers, all edges gilt. Some light foxing to text pages only. An excellent example of Grandville's favorite work.
“After Un autre monde the fifty-two colored engravings of Les fleurs animées are the chief example of Grandville’s effort to penetrate to the meaning of objects like an ‘intellectual miner’ (preface to Les étoiles, p. xi), even though only fifteen of the designs are entirely from his hand (Bouchot, p. 58). Though the images in the book are of Grandville’s time, his manner of proceeding is that of an artist of the modern movement, exploring the same subject through a sequence of slight but significant variations. Most of the plates show an elegant lady in a garden, her dress covered with an extraordinary pattern of flowers. She is sometimes accompanied by respectful creatures, animals and insects, even fish and reptiles. As the series nears its end there are more elaborate scenes of flower-ladies in groups. A little world is created, governed by its own laws, which was full of significance to Grandville and hence becomes so to the reader as well. His first biographer wrote in the preface to Les étoiles (pp. xiii-ix): ‘The Fleurs animées are the very thought of Grandville; they were his favorite work, the work into the execution of which he put all that was in him of poetic and gracious originality, of dexterity of mind and observation, of that prodigious perspicacity which made him divine affinities hitherto unperceived by anyone and discover new worlds’” (Ray, The Art of the French Illustrated Book).
Ray, The Art of the French Illustrated Book, 198. Vicaire III, cols. 133-134.