Item #4331 Le Trottoir de Permesse, ou le Rimeur Fantastique. PAINTED AND EMBROIDERED BINDING.
Le Trottoir de Permesse, ou le Rimeur Fantastique.
Le Trottoir de Permesse, ou le Rimeur Fantastique.
Le Trottoir de Permesse, ou le Rimeur Fantastique.
Le Trottoir de Permesse, ou le Rimeur Fantastique.
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Le Trottoir de Permesse, ou le Rimeur Fantastique. Paris: chez Jubert, doreur, [1788?, reissue 1792].

32mo (binding 98 x 59 mm). Engraved title, 31 [recte 32] pages (entirely engraved, nested quires); 24 pp. letterpress account tables, placed in mid-quire (between pp. 16 and 17); 12 etched and engraved “plates” (printed on bifolia), by Dorgez. Fold-out letterpress calendar for 1792 with woodcut vignettes and Janet imprint, wrapping around the text block. 4 pages with engraved music. A few corners slightly thumbed, page borders of the accounting leaves and of a few of the engravings shaved. Contemporary French embroidered goldwork binding of beige silk over binders’ boards, both covers with intertwining leafy plant design composed of metal-wrapped threads couched on small sequins and assemblages of purl forming leaves and petals, all highlighted with yellow thread, at center of each cover an oval medallion within embossed gold border containing a watercolor and gouache painting on vellum under glass: on front cover a woman in a pink skirt and hat writing in her diary under a tree; on lower cover a young woman in white with a lavender cloak placing roses on a tombstone; backstrip with a simpler decor of purl and sequins and two small silver roundels; blue silk liners, original arched mirror edged in gold ribbon inside upper cover, a pocket for love notes inside lower cover, the free endleaf lined in floral Brokatpapier, gilt edges. In beautiful condition. Provenance: Hippolyte Destailleur, sale, Paris, 13 April 1891, lot 361. ***

A classic almanach galant in an exquisite embroidered binding with two fine miniature paintings. This is one of the best preserved embroidered almanac bindings that I have seen in the book trade in over twenty years.

The rather insipid but skillful engravings by Dorgez, which Grand-Carteret found “ravissantes”, depict couples in various states of agony or ecstasy, but also two scenes of la bonne chère, showing groups of extravagantly coiffed young people enjoying outdoor dining. The accompanying poems and songs, transcribed by Grand Carteret, include one on a mother misleading her daughter on the definition of a hermaphrodite.

The originally practical purpose of the almanac, as exemplified in France by the Etrennes mignonnes or the Calendrier de la Cour, came to be eclipsed in the later 18th century in favor of the frivolous pleasures of pretty bindings and light-hearted illustrations. Intended for ladies’ pocketbooks, and containing love poems or songs, almanacs could be purchased with a choice of bells and whistles, including special bindings. With its beautifully embroidered binding, lovely medallion paintings, silk-lined pocket for love notes, and coyly suggestive engravings, this copy typifies the almanacs produced by the publisher and binder Pierre Jubert, the most important innovator in French almanac publishing. who ceded his bindery and shop to his son-in-law Pierre-Étienne Janet in 1789.

Most of Jubert’s almanacs include a fold-out calendar with the months in columns topped by astrological vignettes, either letterpress, as here, or engraved. The calendar encloses the two engraved quires of this edition, which are nested one inside the other, with the letterpress accounting tables, for the reader to annotate, placed in the middle. The 12 engravings, which alternate with the text leaves in the engraved quires, were printed on the same side of 6 folded bifolia. The sole attachment of the text block is found at the center of what are essentially a series of layered bifolia. This primitive construction was typical of pocket almanacs in this period, which were produced by stationers or “relieurs-doreurs” like Jubert rather than licensed printers. Unusually, though, in this edition the two engraved quires are signed, A-B8. The collation is therefore 1 A-B8 (nested quires, entirely engraved), 12 (letterpress account tables, bound between B4 and B5). Instead of sewing the text block is attached with little metal rods, visible in the central fold (holes show that the sheets were stab-stitched, for a temporary or previous binding).

A reader noted in pencil on the recto of the calendar that the binding miniatures were after Angelica Kauffmann. They are certainly in her style. The description of the Destailleur copy (cited by Grand-Carteret) in his 1861 sale catalogue matches this copy, which lacks any other provenance marks.

OCLC locates one institutional copy, also in an embroidered binding, at the Univ. of Michigan. Grand-Carteret 881 (with calendar for 1788): “12 ravissantes figures par Dorgez entièrement dans la note de Binet, c'est-à-dire avec les figures en lame de couteau et les petits pieds" (”... entirely in the style of Binet, with tall, slender figures and small feet”; Catalogue de livres rares et précieux composant la bibliotheque de M. Hippolyte Destailleur, Paris: Morgand, 1861, item 361.
Item #4331

Price: $5,500.00