Le Livre D'Amour.New York: Scribner & Welford, 1887 Stock Code: 144850
In a stunning Léon Gruel bindingFirst edition of this lavish book of French love poetry, number 19 of 20 large paper copies printed on Japon, numbered and initialled by the editor Blanche Butterworth Haggin on the limitation page, in an exquisitely produced binding by one of the most famous and important fin de siècle French binders, Léon Gruel's atelier, in beautiful condition.
The Gruel firm, founded in 1811, "always had the highest reputation for initiative in artistic matters, as well as for irreproachable execution in the detail of its many-sided achievements" (Prideaux). Léon Gruel (1841-1923), who took over the firm in 1891, was the single most influential person associated with the bindery.
This expansive collection includes the work of Charles Baudelaire, Pierre de Ronsard, Christine de Pizan, Victor Hugo, and Shakespeare. It was compiled by San Francisco socialite Blanche Butterworth Haggin who spoke fluent French and maintained a residence in Paris. Haggin was responsible for assembling the majority of the Haggin Collection of French Art in California. The work is dedicated "A mon mari" to her husband Louis, who was likewise fluent in French.
The work is uncommon institutionally with two copies traced institutionally worldwide, at New York Public Library, the copy presented by Haggin to the library in 1898, and Colorado State University Morgan Library, where it is erroneously attributed to Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve (1804-1869). A further 170 small paper copies on japon were also released, alongside 20 on Whatman paper and 20 on German crayon paper.
Octavo (175 x 143 mm). Contemporary pale brown morocco finely bound by Gruel, stamp in gilt to front doublure, spine tooled in gilt in 6 compartments with raised bands ruled in gilt, onlaid morocco posies in compartments, and intricate matching floral design in gilt to covers with morocco onlay roses and tulips in pink, white, and blue, leaves in green, posy bows in red, central frame onlaid in brown morocco with 4 gilt lantern devices, all within single rule gilt frame, initials in gilt to centre of front cover, board edges tooled with floral pattern, blue morocco doublure with gilt ruled frame, floral patterned silk free endpapers, top edge gilt, others untrimmed, blue silk book marker. Fleur-de-lis patterned original paper wrappers bound in. With brown morocco-backed marbled paper chemise lined in red felt.
Text in French. Decorative half-title in gilt and pink, title page printed in red and black, decorative initials to each poem.
Tiny scuff to foot of rear board, a fine copy, in chemise with a little wear to tips.
Sarah Prideaux, Bookbinders and Their Craft (1903).
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