UZANNE’S ENTERTAINING HISTORY OF THE FAN, ILLUSTRATED BY PAUL AVRIL
UZANNE, Octave. The Fan. London: J.C. Nimmo and Bain (Ballantyne Press), 1884 (i.e. 1883). Tall octavo, early 20th-century full red crushed morocco, raised bands, elaborately gilt-decorated spine and cover borders, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt, uncut. $900.
First English edition of this lavishly illustrated treatise on the fan, the use of which “is sufficient by itself to distinguish between a princess and a countess, a marchioness and a plebeian,” with wonderful illustrated borders and vignettes by Paul Avril on every page, handsomely bound.
“The Fan,” writes Uzanne in his Preface, “of which the text runs or winds across the colored prints of this volume, is not by any means a work of mighty wisdom and erudition, such as set good-sized spectacles on the noses of the magisters and eminent savants… This monograph of Woman’s Ornaments, [is] written for woman, and destined to woman, to present her with that enviable pillow-library, where so many modern authors hope in their dreams to find their works, bound in heavenly blue morocco or smooth shagreen.” A woman with all the advantages of adornment and grace “will meet with nothing but banter if she knows not how to manage her Fan.” First published in French in 1882. Édouard-Henri Avril (aka Paul Avril), among the best known French illustrators of erotic literature of his day (the so-called “galante literature”), produced a series of lovely borders and vignettes for this splendid edition. The Ballantyne Press was founded in 1799 and moved to Edinburgh in 1802. In 1805 Sir Walter Scott became a partner with the proprietor James Ballantyne. The Press later opened a London branch and printed books for both the Vale Press (Charles Ricketts) and the Ergany Press.
Only a few light spots of foxing. Beautiful binding with expert reinforcement to joints.