Bluettes et souvenirs poétiques (title on first drawing). Achille de CHOLET, Baron.
Bluettes et souvenirs poétiques (title on first drawing).
Bluettes et souvenirs poétiques (title on first drawing).
Bluettes et souvenirs poétiques (title on first drawing).

Bluettes et souvenirs poétiques (title on first drawing). [France], 1836.

8vo (186 x 119 mm). 94 leaves, foliated [1] 1-14, [1], 15-19, 21-24, [1], 25-29, [1], 30-36, [1], 37-90, fols. 74 and 83-90 blank except for page numbers and 4 lines on fol. 85 verso; plus 18 blank leaves at end followed by [2] leaves containing 3 index pages, and 1 final blank leaf. Section titles in outline capitals on separate leaves, included in foliation. Complete (the gap between fols. 19 and 21 is a foliation error). Rule borders throughout. Text in brown ink in a flowing cursive hand, varying lines, numerous insertions and deletions. Illustrated with 20 pen-and-ink drawings, of which 7 full-page, on rectos with versos blank (the first 5 not included in the foliation), and 13 half-page or smaller, plus 2 small ornaments. Wove paper. Black straight-grained morocco, covers gilt panelled, central panel with arabesque tooling at corners, smooth spine with gilt title cartouche lettered “Bluettes” from which extend triple gilt fillets terminating in ornaments at head and tail, gilt edges, white moiré satin endleaves (rubbed, corners bumped). ***

A manuscript of poems and short prose pieces, all in a romantic vein, illustrated with quite accomplished pen-and-ink drawings, presumably by the author, whose name and the date of the manuscript are supplied on the verso of the front free endpaper: “Le Baron Achille de Cholet / Officier à l’Etat-Major / 1836”.

In the first poem (Aux Dames), the poet calls himself a “novice Ecolier,” implying youthfulness, and the date of 1836 on the front flyleaf is probably that of the time of writing, although some of the many corrections and deletions may have been added later. Achille de Cholet was descended from an ancient Anjou noble family, according to his obituary in 1888 in the Bulletin héraldique de France (vol. 7, 235-6). He became an officer in the Légion d’honneur, and was well known for his important topographic researches in the south of France. A few of the pieces in the manuscript are dedicated to aristocrats, mainly female. It seems likely that the Baron shared his family's Royalist views: his father had died in exile, and his brother (whose first name is not given in the obituary) was an “ardent champion of the Royalist press” and author of a book titled Madame en Vendée (relating the attempted coup in 1832 of the duchesse de Berry, mother of the Pretender the Comte de Chambord), which was pursued and effectively banned by the tribunals (indeed, the work appears not to be recorded in OCLC or other online OPACs).

The titles of the other poems or groups of poems are: Le Rhin, Le Déserteur, L’Isolement, L’Impiété, Une Croix sur la Montagne, La Mère du Prisonnier, L’Avenir / à Melle Francine d’Hurbal, Rheyms, Séparation, L’Enfant perdu, L’Adieu au Plaisir, La Campagne / à Mr le Vicomte Alfred de R..., Les Cloches du Soir, La Neige, Les Pauvres, and Le Jour des Rois (unfinished). In the final index most of these section titles are crossed out, and two others are added (L’Hirondelle and Le Pélerin), but they may not have been written, as they do not appear in the manuscript. Some pieces may have been used elsewhere: a few pages bear numbers in parentheses in the lower margins, possibly referring to another manuscript or book. While some of the poems appear to be fair copies, others have copious deletions and insertions.

These stolid sentimental poems and prose impressions reflect the prevailing Romanticism of the period, as do the far more skillfully executed pen-and-ink drawings that illustrate them. Somber or dreamlike, with dark cross-hatching contrasting with lighter areas, the drawings show a dark tunnel under a rocky mountainside, a soldier in a garret or prison, a cloaked barefoot man, an emblematic trophy with musical instruments and weaponry, a raven perched on ruined tombstones and columns, a domestic scene of father and daughter, a woman on her knees, the facade of Reims Cathedral surrounded by swirling clouds, architectural details of cathedrals, several surrounded by decaying facades, and vignettes of crumbling chateaux, pastoral churches, and snow-covered gatehouses, all of which reflect the vogue for l’ancienne France and the “pittoresque”, as notably popularized by Nodier and Taylor in their Voyages pittoresques et romantiques dans l’ancienne France (23 volumes,1820-1878). Item #2724

Price: $2,800.00

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