Item #4325 Almanach des marchés de Paris. Étrennes curieuses et comiques avec des chansons intéressantes. Dédié à Marie-Barbe, Fruitière Orangère. François Marie Isidore QUÉVERDO.
Almanach des marchés de Paris. Étrennes curieuses et comiques avec des chansons intéressantes. Dédié à Marie-Barbe, Fruitière Orangère.
Almanach des marchés de Paris. Étrennes curieuses et comiques avec des chansons intéressantes. Dédié à Marie-Barbe, Fruitière Orangère.
Almanach des marchés de Paris. Étrennes curieuses et comiques avec des chansons intéressantes. Dédié à Marie-Barbe, Fruitière Orangère.
Almanach des marchés de Paris. Étrennes curieuses et comiques avec des chansons intéressantes. Dédié à Marie-Barbe, Fruitière Orangère.
Almanach des marchés de Paris. Étrennes curieuses et comiques avec des chansons intéressantes. Dédié à Marie-Barbe, Fruitière Orangère.
Almanach des marchés de Paris. Étrennes curieuses et comiques avec des chansons intéressantes. Dédié à Marie-Barbe, Fruitière Orangère.
Almanach des marchés de Paris. Étrennes curieuses et comiques avec des chansons intéressantes. Dédié à Marie-Barbe, Fruitière Orangère.
Almanach des marchés de Paris. Étrennes curieuses et comiques avec des chansons intéressantes. Dédié à Marie-Barbe, Fruitière Orangère.
Almanach des marchés de Paris. Étrennes curieuses et comiques avec des chansons intéressantes. Dédié à Marie-Barbe, Fruitière Orangère.
Women at work and play

Almanach des marchés de Paris. Étrennes curieuses et comiques avec des chansons intéressantes. Dédié à Marie-Barbe, Fruitière Orangère. Paris: Boulanger, [1781].

Bound with: Almanach galant des costumes français des plus à la mode. Dessinés d'après nature. Dédié au beau sexe. Paris: Boulanger, [1781].

2 vols. in one, 32mo (91 x 55 mm.), both entirely engraved. Almanach des marchés: [44] leaves: pictorial title, [12]-page calendar for 1782, [24] pages of text, printed on rectos and versos, interleaved with 12 unsigned etched and engraved plates (by Dambrun after Quéverdo); [1] advertisement leaf, [24] pages of songs with music. Almanach galant: [49] leaves: pictorial title, [36] pages of text, [18] unsigned engraved plates of fashions (by Quéverdo), and [24] pages of accounting tables. Engraved list of festival days for 1782 printed on the versos of both titles; both almanacs irregularly paginated. (Minor soiling to first title, occasional light small stains, small rust- or burn-hole in 4th calendar leaf, fore-edge of December plate shaved.)
Contemporary red morocco, covers framed in gold-tooled roll borders, flat spine gilt with small floral tools in compartments, green morocco gilt lettering-piece, blue silk liners, silk ribbon marker (apparently recased at an early date: leather of front cover a bit wrinkly, marks from old stitching in gutters); contemporary red morocco gilt two-part pull-off case (stained, paper and silk liner worn). Provenance: a woman’s contemporary signature, clotilde abrassart[?], on lower flyleaf; Baron Jérome Pichon (sale, Paris, 3-14 May 1897, lot 410); a 20th-century owner’s neat ink notes on a loosely inserted slip.***

First Edition, first issue, of one of the most prized French almanacs, singular for its depiction of working class women, bound with an equally superb and rare fashion almanac, both by the preeminent Parisian almanac publisher Boulanger. This copy was signed by a contemporary female owner; it was later in the library of the bibliophile Jérome Pichon.

I: Almanach des marchés: A masterwork in miniature, dedicated to an orange-seller, the almanac presents a dozen Parisian street traders, all but one female, in situ. Each sells a different foodstuff, one for each month: oranges in January, poultry in February, and fish, flowers, peas, cherries, apricots, cream, melons, grapes, chestnuts, and boudins (blood sausages -- sold by the only male vendor) for the other months. The masterful etchings show the marchandes in the midst of bustling activity, in outdoor markets or directly on the street, dealing with customers and accosted by men. Typical Parisian buildings and vistas appear in the backgrounds, with a few specific landmarks, like the statue of Henri IV on the Pont Neuf; the locations are indicated in the plate captions. The frontispiece shows Marie-Barbe, the marchande d’oranges, having just been knocked over by a group of women fighting. Her bared breast, the spilled foodstuffs, and the gawking male figure in the foreground set the tone for the almanac, whose textual double-entendres revolve around a conflation, in the libidinous male mind of the writer, of the women’s products and their bodies. The suggestive rhymed texts are set to the tunes of various popular songs. Most amusing is the description of the poissonnière, which reproduces her slang and accent.

Although the title and the publisher’s advertisement give full credit for the unsigned etchings to Quéverdo, Boulanger’s “house” artist, and one of the most sought-after illustrators of almanachs galants, the delicate etchings were the work of Jean Dambrun (1741- ca. 1808), after Quéverdo’s designs: the Dambrun collection of the Cabinet des estampes of the Bibliothèque nationale de France includes a suite of early states of the etchings. Dambrun was “one of the master illustrators of the 18th century... His almanacs merit special mention: they are ornamented by vignettes in a very reduced format, which offer a faithful mirror of French society at the end of the ancien régime ... all as if viewed through the large end of a telescope” (IFF V, pp. 433-4, transl.).

Boulanger’s advertisement leaf (which is unfinished, ending in mid-sentence with the verso blank except for the page-border) lists this and other almanacs, all “designed and engraved by M. Queverdo, whose talents are known”), including the accompanying fashion almanac (called the Almanach des Coeffures et Costumes). Unusually, no states with colored illustrations are promoted, implying that the plates were (justifiably) considered too good to color. Bound as part of this copy, like that recorded by Grand-Carteret, are 12 leaves of songs, including Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Romance "Au fond d’une sombre vallée...”

Copies of the Almanach des marchés are known with calendars for 1784 and 1787, and revised lists of festival dates on the title versos. There may have been other years as well, but none are recorded. The same engraved sheets of illustrations and text were used in those later issues. This is the earliest issue known, but the plates are said to have been previously used in 1780 in an almanac titled Itinéraire descriptif de Paris avec indications quotidiennes. Débit des Comestibles les plus abondants et les plus recherchés de chaque saison. No copies of the Itinéraire were known to Grand-Carteret or Cohen, and I locate none in libraries, but Lewine knew of one. It is likely that the engraved text also appeared there, as the peculiar pagination of this edition testifies to a previous appearance of both plates and text.

The various parts of almanacs such as these were assembled by the publisher-bookseller: the plates and text; the calendar; the publisher’s advertisement; music; and the tables of gains and losses. Hence copies often differ. Our copy was bound with a fashion almanac, and the monthly table for accounting (with columns for pertes and gains) appears at the end; paginated 21-44, it has its own imprint. The binding may have been the publisher’s. Boulanger, like many almanac publishers, was also a bookbinder or finisher (the ad leaf announces him as a “doreur sur cuir et sur soie”); he also sold maps and small illuminated prints for tabatières or breloques (snuff boxes and watches or watch-chains).

OCLC lists one copy of this 1781 issue, at the Rijksmuseum. The Morgan and Harvard hold copies with the 1784 calendar, and the BnF has one with the 1787 calendar. One copy of each of these two later issues have appeared in the trade in recent years.

II: Almanach galant: This lovely and very rare fashion almanac includes 12 engraved plates of women and 6 of men, accompanied by satirical poems to be sung to various popular melodies. The figures are startlingly au naturel, and include one of a woman in her slip washing herself, and one of a woman donning her garters. On the engraved title is a tiny echo of that plate: a putto is spying on a lady engaged in the same action. Some of the verses are cutting, especially that describing the Petit-maître, a self-promoting “fat” (a conceited social climber).

I have had another edition of this almanac, from 1780. Unlike the reissues of the Almanach des marchés de Paris, this almanac was a true periodical, as each year contained a different engraved title and different plates (see my catalogue 20, item 2). That 1780 edition, of which there is also a copy at Houghton library, contains an advertisement leaf in which the plates (unsigned) are described as by Quéverdo after [Pierre-Gabriel?] Berthaut. The engravings of the present copy match the lists provided by Savigny de Moncorps and Grand-Carteret (with the “original” plate 14, titled Demoiselle en polonoise en pouf, and the lyrics titled “Dame arrosant des Fleurs”). OCLC locates no copies of this 1781 edition.

Grand-Carteret 666 (« Les petites poésies qui accompagnent ces estampes sont des modèles de finesse et de polissonnerie galante ») and 669; Cohen-de Ricci cols. 20 and 25 (citing this copy); Savigny de Moncorps, Coup d'oeil sur les almanachs illustrés du XVIIIe siècle ... Deuxième édition (1891), pp. 49-50 (Marchés: “le chef-d’oeuvre du genre”), and pp. 54-56. Marchés: Inventaire du Fonds Français XVIII, vol. 5, pp. 447-8: Dambrun nos. 67-78; Livres en bouche: cinq siècles d’art culinaire français (2001), no. 179; Vicaire, Bibliographie gastronomique (1890), col. 17; cf. J. Lewine, Bibliography of Eighteenth-Century Art and Illustrated Books (London, 1898), p. 12. On Quéverdo, see Portalis, Les Dessinateurs d'illustrations au dix-huitième siècle, vol. 2: 546-550. On Boulanger’s advertisements, see Savigny de Moncorps, op cit., pp. 18-20.
Item #4325

Price: $12,500.00