GRANDVILLE, J.-J. Scènes de la vie privée et publique des animaux. Two volumes. , 386, ; , 390,  pp. With 201 engraved plates and 120 vignettes illustrating the text. Large 8vo., 261 x 180 mm, uniformly bound in contemporary black half morocco. Paris: Hetzel et Paulin: 1842-1844.
A splendid copy of a Grandville masterpiece, accompanied by two original watercolours by Grandville and a long autograph letter from the publisher, Hetzel. A fantastic example of anthropomorphic illustration and an important precursor of surrealism. These illustrations represent some of Grandville's most memorable creations. Many of the plates are of single figures, but there are also satirical scenes of everyday life, monsters, animals looking at politicians caged at the zoo, etc. The texts contained herein were written by such notable authors as Balzac, Charles Nodier, George Sand, Louis Viardot and even J. Hetzel, the publisher (under the pseudonym of P.-J. Stahl).
Hetzel was the motivating force behind this work, which he undertook in order to "give words to Grandville's marvellous animals, and to join our pen with his pencil, thereby coming to his assistance in criticizing the aberrations of our epoch, and by preference among these aberrations, those which are of every period and every country." Gordon N. Ray writes: "Through Grandville's animals, Hetzel and his colleagues offered a witty and telling commentary on contemporary politics and personalities." Some slight edge wear, one of the drawings with spotting, else fine.
PROVENANCE: Jacques Crepineau, with his bookplate.
Ray 194. Carteret III, 552-59. Rebeyrat, Catalogue bibliographique et bibliophilique in: J.-J. Grandville (1985) pp. 289-90.
Item nr. 169739