This spectacular binding is known as "romantic" and was produced for a small window of time between 1840-1870. It was published in Paris in 1846.
The editors of this type of book combined very elaborate bindings with rich text which was enhanced by exquistie engravings. Published for young people, they were cherished through the generations and generally survive in very good condition. Libraries were present in most wealthy homes and during this era books not only served as entertainment but as fine decoration.
This cover boards are of thick paper board which has been covered with toile. A heated plaque produced a blind stamped frame. The design of the central medallions were time consuming to produce. Each color was hand cut and glued in place. Metal plaques were heated and then dipped in gilt; when applied, this produced a decorative frame and also sealed the paper underneath. The gilt designs of this binding are sumptuous, with tiny flowers, leaves and tendrils. The medallion of the back board has an elaborate vase with tiny flowers which is particularly striking on the rich red background.
The text, "L'Ecolier" is a work which was applauded by the Academie Francaise. The French text is illustrated by twelve full page engravings. The pencil designs of Janet Lange have been beautifully engraved, with clear detailing and exceptional design. There are several small vignettes and decorated capitals. The pages are gilt tipped.
The book measures: 9 1/2" x 6 1/4" x 1 1/8" thick. It is in exceptional condition for it's age. There is some foxing throughout as is typical with age and climate changes.
The text can be read by an intermediate student of French. It is a magnificent example from an age when books were produced as works of art.
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Fine French Small Antiques; Gilded Bronze, Objets of Vertu, Antique Books, Napoleon III, Porte Montre, Cast Bronze