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Gilt Embossed French "Romantic Binding" Book with Color Lithograph Medallion circa 1846
The title of this book is, "Le Jeune Tambour" (the young drummer boy). He is depicted in a pastel-like color lithograph in the central front medallion. This type of binding, with it's jewel-like quality and raised gilt embellishment is known as a "romantic binding". It was produced for a very short period of time, just over 50 years (from 1840-1890), in France.
The production of the binding was truly an art form. A hard paper board material forms the binding cover boards. White paper was then added to the boards. The pink portions were individually cut and placed atop the paper. The central medallion was hand cut and filled with the color lithograph ( the back cover, with a white and pink medallion). To seal all the layers into place, a custom made plaque applied gilt (using heat). The heat caused the paper portions to recede and the gilt portions to raise up. This gives a very textured feel to the cover boards.
The color lithograph of this volume is lovely, with a black and white background which gives importance to the full color drummer boy. The medallion measures: 3 3/8" x 2 1/4".
The French text follows the little boy's story. It was written for intermediate school children and is easily read by students today. It is illustrated by one frontispiece engraving, one frontispiece vignette and two full page engravings.
The book survives in very good condition, with little wear to the entire binding. The central lithograph remains with the original brilliant colors, the gilt is still shimmering. It measures: 7" x 4". It would make a wonderful accessory to place atop a French desk or side table.
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