Les soirées de la Tante, ou Histoires amusantes à l'usage du premier âge. Par un ami des enfans. Alexis EYMERY, publisher.
Les soirées de la Tante, ou Histoires amusantes à l'usage du premier âge. Par un ami des enfans.
Les soirées de la Tante, ou Histoires amusantes à l'usage du premier âge. Par un ami des enfans.
Les soirées de la Tante, ou Histoires amusantes à l'usage du premier âge. Par un ami des enfans.
Les soirées de la Tante, ou Histoires amusantes à l'usage du premier âge. Par un ami des enfans.
Les soirées de la Tante, ou Histoires amusantes à l'usage du premier âge. Par un ami des enfans.
Les soirées de la Tante, ou Histoires amusantes à l'usage du premier âge. Par un ami des enfans.
A juvenile rarity, illustrated with etchings and polytypages

Les soirées de la Tante, ou Histoires amusantes à l'usage du premier âge. Par un ami des enfans. Paris (printed in Blois by d’Aucher-Éloy): A. Eymery, Ledentu, Lecointe et Durey, and d’Aucher-Éloy in Blois, 1825.

Oblong 12mo (110 x 175 mm). [4], 173, [1] pp. 6 plates of etchings with engraving, unsigned, seven tailpiece vignettes printed from six “polytypages,” of which one (the repeat) signed D. (for Duplat).  Edges untrimmed, fine. Later half crushed havana morocco, spine gold-tooled in compartments, by Jean Stroobants (stamped signature on front free endpaper), preserving original blue printed wrappers, upper wrapper with title and imprint, lower wrapper with a polytypage of a windmill, both within a white on black grapevine border. Provenance: faded contemporary signature on verso of title, Clemence Pigeaux; bookplate of Victor Mercier (motto Librorum flos illibatus), sale, 26 April - 4 June 1937.

Only Edition of a very rare children’s book. This fine copy has never grazed juvenile hands.

During a fortnight’s visit to the perfect bourgeois family, a maiden aunt tells a nightly story to her niece and nephew. Each has a moral lesson, but the tales range in complexity, and some are quite bloody. An old nurse is saved from penury by her now rich former charges. A kind doctor is saved from brigands by his faithful dog; the dog later gets rabies, and reluctant to put him down, the doctor keeps him enclosed; the dog escapes, people die: the doctor’s mistake was to love too much. A chilling and still disturbingly relevant tale of a charlatan’s prediction which leads to the death of an innocent man cautions against superstition and trust in con-men. Etc. 

The six lively etchings are characteristic of Alexis Eymery’s juvenile publications,  a publisher and bookseller with a sub-specialty in children’s books, some of which he wrote himself, under various pseudonyms. Eymery (1774-1854) partnered for a time with the children’s book publisher Pierre Blanchard, and from 1815 to 1819 worked on his own. Although the BnF authority file records that he declared bankruptcy in 1819, he continued to publish after that date, and his “Librairie d’'Education,” in the Palais Royal and on the Rue Mazarine, remained in business from 1809 to 1830.

Like other French children’s book publishers of the period, Eymery, or his printers,  often used recently invented experimental graphic reproduction techniques for the decoration and illustration of his editions. In this edition the tail-piece vignettes were printed from polytypages, a form of stereotyped plate made from woodblocks or from relief etching on a varnished stone. The most successful, for a time, of a handful of such techniques was that of Jean-Louis Duplat. Duplat’s method, which he called “la gravure en relief sur pierre,” was fairly cumbersome, requiring two steps to make the matrices, but he nonetheless managed to illustrate a full edition of La Fontaine’s Fables with 266 polytypages, published by A.-A. Renouard in 1811.  A few of Duplat's cuts showed up in later French children's books, such as this one; some are signed with his initial D, like the horse vignette used here on pages 54 and 125. 

Not in Gumuchian; OCLC gives only two locations, BnF and Lyon.

Item #4097

Price: $2,000.00