Paris: J. Hetzel, 1845-1846. First edition. Two large octavo volumes (10 3/8 x 6 7/8 inches; 263 x 175 mm.). Contemporary half black hard-grain morocco, ruled in gilt, over black morocco-grain paper over boards. Smooth spines decoratively tooled in gilt and blind and lettered in gilt. Marbled edges and endpapers. Minor rubbing to extremities, head of spine of Volume II expertly and almost invisibly repaired, front hinge of Volume I cracked, but sound. Minimal foxing and soiling. Small area of surface abrasion to upper blank margin of plate Artistes, —6 facing page 160 in Volume II, where it was once adhered to the facing page. Bookplate (Bibliothèque de A. Vautrain) on front pastedown of each volume. Collating , xxxii, 380; , lxxx, 364. Wood- engraved title vignette in each volume, 212 wood-engraved plates (208 after Gavarni and four after Bertall), with tissue guards, and numerous wood-engraved head- and tail-pieces, vignettes, and initials. This copy with a duplicate of the plate facing in Volume I. Music. Overall, an excellent copy.
"The book appeared in part-issues, at the rate of one or two a week, between April of 1843 and December of 1845. The major attraction of Le diable à Paris resides in Gavarni’s plates, which are of even greater interest than the 320 wood engravings of his Oeuvres choisies (207). The engraving is superior for the most part, and they are new conceptions, not versions of his lithographs. He limits himself almost entirely to single figures or pairs, evoked with his usual concentration and psychological subtlety. He had a free hand with his subjects, since his designs are quite unrelated to Hetzel’s text. As usual he arranged them as series, some of which (those devoted to writers and politicians, for example) are largely unprecedented in his previous repertory. He invaded Daumier’s world with success in the fifteen plates of ‘Bourgeois,’ exampled in the self-satisfied worthy reproduced (II, 328)" (Ray).
Hiler 237. (Item #3650)