La Fontaine's Fables Now First Translated from the French By Robert Thomson With Elegant Engraved Figures
. Gaglignani . Paris
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This book is a curious find representing three-fourths of another edition, sold (and published?) eleven years later by a publishing house and bookstore still thriving in Paris. Chenu in Paris did a first edition set of four volumes in 1806 that I found from Michael Hackenburg. Later I found a one volume 1806 compilation of those four, with some changes in the illustrations; that, also done by Chenu, came from A. Dyer, Essex, UK, through eBay. Now here are the first three volumes of that four-volume set. It has the same curiosities. In particular, as in the both of those series, there is a life of Aesop here at the beginning of Volume II, i.e., at the beginning of Book 4. There is also again a simple, unrelated tail-piece image at the end of many fables. Again, as in the Dyer copy, this book is signed by the publisher on the verso of the pre-title-page. There is a T of C for each of the three-book volumes at the end of that volume. With one exception, the illustrations are identical with those in the Dyer copy. Thus there is a strong frontispiece (slightly over 3¼" x 4") signed by Perdoux: Aesop and the animals pay homage to a bust of La Fontaine. Two other signed Perdoux illustrations of the same size are inserted along the way: I 13, "Two Thieves and the Ass," and III 1, MSA. Of the same size but signed "Olimpe Neveu sculp." is II 14, Hares and Frogs. The illustrations in the second volume include: IV 2, "Shepherd and Sea"; V 1, "Woodman and Mercury" (frontispiece to the second volume); V 11, "Fortune and the School-boy"; and VI 3, SW. The illustrations in Volume 3 include: VII 1, "Plague"; VII 13, "Two Cocks"; VIII 26, "Democritus and the Abderites." This volume lacks the illustration for IX 13, "Jupiter and the Passenger." Pasted over the name of Chenu and the date of 1806 on all three title-pages is "Sold at Gaglignani's French, English, Italian, German and Spanish Library, Rue Vivienne, No. 18. 1817." Gaglignani's is still thriving in Paris! This book has some history. It was sold at Strand for $2 and somewhere else for $5. It was inscribed in both 1836 and 1882. Frontispiece is spelled "Front-ispiece." Why a division in this word, and why the division there? On this volume, the spine cover is disconnected but still present. There is considerable foxing in the book.