Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Orientalism

Several months ago I discovered a tatty-looking French book, lying at the bottom of a box. The cover was damaged and the binding was in a terrible state, but I knew that I had found something special:

It's not just the illustrations that make this book so remarkable, but also the fact that it was published in 1890. I had no idea that colour printing was so advanced in those days.


If you click on these images, they may take slightly longer to upload, but I felt that illustrations of this quality warranted high resolution scans (and as these images are copyright-free, I hope they'll make their way around the blogosphere).





Both the book and its author remain something of a mystery, which I find hard to understand. How can a stunning title like this languish in obscurity? I'm sure the book has some value, but selling it is proving to be an uphill strugle.

7 comments:

Brett said...

Lovely! Thanks, Steerforth. I am guessing that these are lithographs, passed again through a press where there are bodies of type.

The title page is interesting, an attempt at a Chinese brushwork effect that looks crude to modern eyes.

A very nice find.

Wilds of Dumfriesshire said...

I'd buy it (let's haggle). What's the outlet for your heterogeneous discoveries?

Steerforth said...

It's here:

http://shop.ebay.co.uk/?_from=R40&_trksid=p3907.m38.l1313&_nkw=chinoiseries&_sacat=See-All-Categories

Ms Baroque said...

Crude? It just looks very 1890s French to me. Absolutely lovely. The excitement of being a bookseller.

Steerforth said...

Particularly a secondhand bookseller (or should that be a seller of secondhand books?). I was in mainstream bookselling for 18 years and by the end, it was far more formulaic and unadventurous.

Ms Baroque said...

Just curious - how much did it go for n the end? I should have 'watched' it but forgot...

Steerforth said...

£32 measly pounds, including postage. The buyer still hasn't paid yet though.