Fables Nouvelles, Vol. II, Binder 1
Dorat, Claude Joseph
. (Nicolas-Augustin) Delalain , Chez Delalain . A la Haye & Paris (Bodemann identifier 157.2 )
Language note: French
PQ1981.D35 A6 1773 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
Language note: French
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This set of three items may be a first in this collection. It is not a book but a set of three binders containing together ninety-six cards measuring 6¾x4¼ with approximately 190 signed prints, almost all two prints to a card. The eBay seller writes that the three binders/volumes are from a museum de-acquisition from the early 1800’s. The set came from an 87 year-old collector. The museum professionally mounted all the illustrated pages onto conservator board. More exactly, what is mounted on the conservator boards is not the pages but the excerpted illustrations, about ninety-five illustrations and about 95 endpieces. The book from which these excerpted illustrations come is apparently the second volume to Claude Joseph Dorat's Fables ou Allégories Philosophiques of 1772. The first card is its title-page, expressing Fables Nouvelles, the publisher, the places, and the date. According to Bodemann, a number of engravers are involved. The artist himself is still Clement-Pierre Marillier. Both artist and engraver typically sign each illustration here of either sort. I am betting that some of the racier illustrations belong to La Fontaine's Contes. Bodemann correctly notes that the book is back-dated, since some illustrations are dated 1774 and 1775, while the book is dated 1773. Many of the subjects in this first binder could easily be fable subjects; I am surprised that not more of them are standard groupings of characters that would give away a La Fontaine fable. I think I perceive an ostrich who cannot fly like the birds winging their way above him. I am quite sure I see an oak and a reed. Is there an endpiece that presents the weasel and the bat? And do I see La Fontaine's two doves, one returning to the other? Two images on one page bring together the lion, the cock, and the ass. The most dramatic illustration occurs near the end: two human figures reach towards two birds, whose beaks touch in midair. Working with these materials presents a challenge: without the book, one can know neither to what work any particular picture belongs nor what order the original materials followed. Each binder could contain material that belongs in a different binder and in a different order.