18 PLAYS FROM THE FAMOUS THÉÂTRE DU VAUDEVILLE, 12 FRONTED WITH HAND-COLORED PLATES
(BARRÉ, Pierre-Yves). Les Roses du Vaudeville. Paris: Chez Le Fuel (Firmin Didot), . 12mo (3 by 4-1/2 inches), early 20th-century full burgundy morocco gilt, rebacked with original spine laid down, raised bands, all edges gilt. $1350.
First edition of this intriguing early 19th-century play-book of the French vaudeville theater (originally condemned by Napoleon), illustrated with an additional engraved title page and 12 intricate hand-colored aquatints, beautifully bound by de Sauty.
The Paris Théâtre du Vaudeville opened in 1792 on the rue de Chartres-Saint-Honoré. Its co-founder and principal director Pierre-Yves Barré mainly produced vaudevilles— light comedies richly decorated with songs. Later in the 19th century the theater hosted Alexandre Dumas fils’ La Dame aux Camélias and Jules Verne’s play Onze Jours de Siège. “Before Napoleon came to power, vaudevilles were frequently based on social issues, class questions and political concerns, causing not a few disputes with the various parties in power since the founding of the theatre. After about 1804, however, the genre turned away from political and social concerns” (Marvin Carlson, 48). Napoleon was at first “discontented with his theatre due to anti-Republican allusions which he made every evening” (de Lanzac de Laborie, 152), but in 1805 he commanded Barré to entertain the officers who were assembling an invasion force against England. This beautiful little play-book contains a historical note on the theater, 18 one- and two-act “comédie-vaudevilles” (several by Marc-Antoine Désaugiers, who succeeded Barré as director in 1815), with 12 intricate hand-colored plates, and an engraved calendar at the rear.
Fine condition, with only faint scattered patches of foxing.