Jean de La Fontaine Illustrated by Charles Eisen

Monday, January 9th 2023

The Gazette Drouot, Caroline Legrand

Jean de La Fontaine (1621-1695), Contes et Nouvelles en vers (Tales and Novels in Verse), Amsterdam, 1762 (Paris, Barbou), two small octavo volumes, full red morocco, triple framing net.
Estimate: €8,000/12,000

Part one of the dispersal of the T. library will feature many works by the French fabulist, notably this famous 18th-century illustrated edition.

These two small octavo volumes of Jean de La Fontaine’s Tales and Novels in Verse with a preface by Denis Diderot have everything that booklovers who are passionate about his world could want. While La Fontaine is famous for his fables, he also wrote ribald tales whose tone ingeniously transformed them into refined works. Admirably bound by Nicolas-Denis Derome and printed on fine Auvergne paper, this deluxe edition features 80 illustrations by Charles Eisen (1720–1778) engraved on copper by Joseph de Longueil, four vignettes and 53 culs-de-lampe by Pierre-Philippe Choffard. It includes six nude figures that were deemed too scandalous and covered up during printing, such as the particularly rare The Devil of Pope-Fig Island, The Spectacles, The Muleteer and The Nightingale. This edition, which was printed by Barbou in Paris in 1762 at the expense of the Fermiers Généraux, is considered one of the most successful of its time. The text also appeared in a volume of the original edition of the first collective—and first illustrated—edition published by Henry Desbordes in Amsterdam in 1685, which is expected to fetch €3,000/5,000.

Saturday 14 January 2023 - 14:00 (CET) - Live
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