Paris: L. Curmer, Éditeur, 1855. First edition thus. With eleven plates, ten of which are beautifully chromolithographed, including three plates with richly illustrated ornamental borders and hand-drawn gilt accents. The eleventh plate is printed in brown with a floral frame for an ownership signature. That plate is attractively hand-illustrated in color and gilt, with the text “Laure & Oscar, 29 Octobre 1862” in manuscript. Some toning to versos and margins of plates. Otherwise, a fine, bright copy of a scarce book in a matching custom slipcase and chemise. Finely bound in brown morocco with metal fore-edge clasps. Spine titled in blind. Glossy red gauffered edges. Small octavo. [. , 636 pp. Item #17474
Henri Léon Curmer (1801 – 1870) is best remembered for publishing a landmark chromolithographed edition of L’Imitation de Jesus-Christ (1856) printed by Joseph Lemercier and Jules Claye. McLean calls Curmer’s publication a “masterpiece of French chromolithography…in which over four hundred pages are decorated in almost every known style of ornamentation in up to fourteen colors” including medieval, Renaissance, and Islamic examples (Victorian Book Design, p. 166). In A History of Chromolithography (2013), Michael Twyman wrote that the book “took chromolithography into new territory” and required an enormous amount of labor and resources (p. 158). An average of ten to twelve impressions were required for each page, and the printing process used over nine hundred stones.
OCLC records only two copies: NYPL and the Bibliothequè Nationale.