“MY UNCLE LEAVES ME HIS HAREM; WHAT COULD I DO?”
(GARBER, Daniel) UCHARD, Mario. My Uncle Barbassou. London: Vizetelly, 1888. Tall octavo, contemporary full brown crushed morocco gilt, raised bands, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt, uncut. $4500.
Second edition in English of this work about life and love in a harem, with 40 etchings by Paul Avril, extra-illustrated with 18 original pen-and-ink drawings in the margins by Daniel Garber. Handsomely bound by Adams.
This wry and somewhat erotic novel tells the story of a young Frenchman who is willed his eccentric uncle's harem and finds himself literally seduced by the lifestyle it offers. The character of Uncle Barbassou was allegedly based rather loosely on Sir Richard Burton. 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 head- and tail-pieces for this edition. This particular copy also contains 18 large original drawings by Daniel Garber— 12 of them signed and one dated "'04." Executed with a fine-nibbed pen, they appear in the margins and often extend well over the text itself. In addition to his skill as a painter, Garber was also an accomplished etcher, producing scores of delicate prints. From 1899 until 1905 he studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, where he took night classes, in order to pursue his daytime work as an illustrator, commercial artist, and portrait painter. This extra-illustrated book is apparently one of those commercial projects. The first edition of Uchard's Barbassou was published in French in 1876 and the first English translation appeared in 1887. An additional letterpress title page, mentioning the Garber drawings, is laid into this copy.
A fine copy, with signed original drawings, handsomely bound.