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The chromolithograph cover boards of this beautiful French binding evoke the appearance of a fine tapestry. This type of binding was popular from 1840-1880, after which it disappeared completely. This example was published by the "Alfred Mame" company in Tours.The Mame company was the most celebrated producer of absolutely magnificent French Romantic bindings.
These lovely books always contained educational and moral stories for older children. They were often given as prizes within the school system. This title presents celebrated painters in history. The French text presents the history of Raphael, Giotto, and is enhanced with four engravings. The French text is easily read by a beginning student of the language.
The binding is in "cartonnage" form, with cover boards of hard paper board covered with a chromolithograph image. The front board has an inset oval window which depicts a family sitting in their library. The elaborate design around the window is simply sumptuous, arabesques, shell shapes, flowers, acanthus leaves all combine to weave a tapestry of rich color and form. The back board has a central oval window which is filled by a flower bouquet of daisies, roses and morning glories. The surrounding design is the same as the front. The spine continues the tapestry design and has the editeur and title plates in green.
The binding measures 7" x 4 1/2" x 3/4" thick. It is in good antique condition with minor wear to the edges and corners as is expected with advanced age (over 150 years). There is one small strip of color loss to the right of the front cover board medallion (see photos). The binding is intact and solid.
It is a lovely book for students of French, both to read and to display in a private library (large or small!)
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Antique French Romantic Binding, "Les Peintres Celebres" circa 1844
French Antiques: 19th Century French Smalls: Sewing, Religious, Bronze Figures-French Books and Bindings