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    Jean de La Fontaine. Contes et Nouvelles en vers. Amsterdam [i.e., Paris: David Jeune], 1762. The "Fermiers Généraux" edition. Two octavo volumes (6.9375 x 4.5 inches; 176 x 114 mm). Volume I with frontispiece portrait of La Fontaine by Fiquet after Rigault, and thirty-nine plates after Charles by Aliamet (two), Baquoy, Choffard, Delafosse (two), de Longueil (seven), Flipart, Le Mire (nine), Lempereur, Leveau, Ouvrier, and unsigned (thirteen). Volume II with frontispiece portrait by Fiquet after Vispré and forty-one plates after Eisen by Aliamet (two), Delafosse, de Longueil (fourteen), Flipart, Le Mire (nine), Lemereur, Leveau, and unsigned (twelve). Four engraved vignettes; and fifty-three engraved culs-de-lampe by Choffard.

    Contemporary French red morocco. Covers with gilt triple fillet border enclosing gilt floral cornerpieces; smooth spines decoratively tooled in gilt and divided into six compartments, with two black leather labels lettered and numbered in gilt; board edges ruled in gilt, turn-ins decoratively tooled in gilt; all edges gilt over marbling. A few areas of slight discoloration to covers, and a bit of wear and surface cracking. Some dampstaining at end of Volume II. Armorial bookplate of the Count of Limur, with motto: "Pour fidelement tenir," on front pastedown of each volume.

    The Goncourts call this edition "the great monument and triumph of the vignette, which dominates and drowns all the illustrations of the age" (see Ray, pp. 54-55). According to Ray, "Eisen's eighty designs for La Fontaine are the liveliest and most adroit that he ever drew. Thoroughly at home with the varied action of these lusty stories -- their love passages, their intrigues, their practical jokes -- he is also expert in choosing the moment in each that will best serve his purpose as an illustrator."

    This copy has the plates "Le Cas de Conscience" (facing II, p. 143) and "Le Diable de Papefiguière" (facing II, p. 149) both in uncovered state.

    This edition, as M. Picot observed, ends with five tales that are not by La Fontaine: "La Couturière," "Le Gascon et La Cruche," by Autereau; "Promettre est un et tenir est un autre," by Vergier; "Le Rossignol," attributed to Lamblin or to Du Trousset de Valincourt; and the "Dissertation sur la Joconde," by Boileau.

    Cohen-de-Ricci, p. 558.; Ray, French, 26; Tchemerzine III, p. 862.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2020
    15th-16th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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