Towards the end of the 19th to the early 20th century, bookbinders began to produce larger and more spectacular bindings for the youth market. The texts were taken from history, travel and science and were often dedicated and approved by an important figure of the Catholic church.
This historical title "Joan of Arc" was written by a collaboration of two authors, Monseigneur Paul Geurin and Laureat de l'Academie Francaise, Frederic Loliee. There are 457 pages of text, framed by large, wide frames of engraved design. There is one frontispiece engraving of the statue of Joan of Arc. The text is dedicated to Monseigneur Parocchi, Cardinal Ponent de la Beatification de Jeanne d'Arc. The text is in French and is easily read by an intermediate French student. (Please note that the photographic lights give a yellow cast to the text page pictures.
The very thick and large binding is magnificent. It is bound in bright cerise-red toile with an elaborate cover and spine adornment. To produce the glimmering cover design, large hand-wrought metal stamps would have been overlaid, one on top of the other, first the black, then the gold and finally the beautiful (and much rarely used) silver. A very large Joan of Arc stands proud, holding her banner which is filled with fleur de lis and a gilt religious medallion. She stands on the words, "Dieu and Patrie". The wide 3/4 inch frame of silver arabesques and fleur de lis holds two shield: one reads, "de par le roi de ciel" and the other has the symbol of France, three fleur de lis.
The binding is in sound condition with wear typical to it's age. The pages (which are hand sewn into the binding) are still attached, the inside cover/spine joints show slight separation, but are still attached. The cover has minimal fading, mainly to the gilt portions. The cerise red is still bright. The silver of the spine is bright, the gilt has faded. The cerise red toile is in good condition with little soiling and the corners of the book are still sound. It measures: 11" x 7 1/2" x 1 3/4" (thick).
It is a remarkable treasure in bookbinding and historical text, from the "Golden Age" of French bookbinding, 1889-1910.
Item ID: LC26
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