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Antique French Book, "Bibliotheque des Petits Enfants (La Fete de Saint-Maurice)" circa 1890
The shimmering cover of this book is signature to the "Librairie Hachette" company who produced a series of children's books. Meant to be collected, different editions were published each year with classic French texts. This title is written by Andre Surville who produced many works during the nineteenth century.
The cover boards are of fine linen which has been heated and pressed into the hard paper boards. The brilliant royal blue color gives the perfect backdrop to the enthusiastic gilt design of the front cover. To fix the design into the cover, a large metal plaque was hand cut with the illustration. It was then heated and dipped into liquid gilt and stamped on the front board. The design features a chubby, winged cherub with his trumpet in hand. He sits on a pedestal with two flower baskets at each side. The author and title are stamped in a panel under his feet. The spine is ornamented in the same manner and is covered with tulip flowers and scrolls. The title is stamped in gilt. The back cover has an embossed black frame on the outer edge. The page edges of the book are in gilt.
The French text is easily read by an intermediate student of French. It is illustrated by 37 engravings (after Tofani). It presents a charming story based on the Festival of Saint-Maurice. There is a French manuscript dedication in the front end paper, "Oncle M. a Jeanne 1895".
The binding measures: 7 1/4" x 5 1/4" x 3/4" thick. It is in sound condition for it's age. There is some light fading to the back cover and the edges of the cover boards, light wear to the corners. The gilt design is still brilliant with hardly any color loss.
It is a wonderful title for a student reader and it is a fabulous display for an office bookshelf.