Fables de La Fontaine: Édition Illustrée
La Fontaine, Jean de
Of a similar book fifteen years ago, I wrote "This book represents a lovely find." Here is an even lovelier find. I wrote of that edition that it seemed equivalent to Bodemann #287.4 except that it lacked Walckenaer's historical notice. This lovely copy includes that notice. Bodemann dates the edition to "circa 1846," and I follow her dating. With this book, as with that, I feared, as so often, that I was probably purchasing something that I already had. As so often, I was wrong on that. Both books are in the tradition of my two-volume set of La Fontaine from 1839 illustrated by J. David. This copy features a small (2" x 3") illustration at the beginning of each book, typically signed by J. David. It also has many more small illustrations before and after the fables than that smaller copy without the notice. There are also the twelve full-page engravings inserted on heavier stock, typically etched by Thompson and signed by one of the five artists mentioned on the title-page: David, Johannot, Adam, Grenier, or Schaal. At least three of these seem to be repeaters from the work in my 1839 edition: "Wolf, Mother, and Child"; "Old Woman and Two Servants"; and TH. The other full-page illustrations are GA; "Thieves and Ass"; FS; MSA; "La Fille"; "Horoscope"; "Wolf and Hunter"; "Oyster and Litigants"; and "Crow, Gazelle, Turtle, and Rat." Similarly, each of the twelve books has a title-page on heavier stock. 6½" x 9¾", this is a substantial volume! I have now seen on the web copies whose title-page includes the date of 1846. This then is most likely a later printing of the same.
Henri Plon; Morizot