Title: Acajou et Zirphile, Conte. "A Minutie"
Publisher: Prault, [Paris]
Publication Date: 1744
Book Condition: Very Good+
Edition: First Edition.
4to (307 x 232 mm). Engraved frontispiece and 9 plates after François Boucher by Pierre-Quentin Chedel, two vignettes designed and engraved by Charles-Nicholas Cochin and a cul-de-lampe. Original marbled-paper wrappers, uncut and in marbled slipcase; (some occasional marginal soiling or pale dampstaining, light edgewear). Formerly in the collection of Desmond Flower, 10 Viscount of Askbrook (1905-1995) his bookplate on front pastedown, acquired from Bernard Quaritch in 1981. Lastly in the collection of Arthur & Charlotte Vershbow, their paper label on front pastedown. First edition and large, uncut quarto in original marbled wrappers of Duclosís pleasant fairy-tale satire "Acajou et Zirphile," which reinvented the plates of Tessin and incorporated Boucherís aesthetic and advice. These celebrated plates were first used to illustrate the Comte de Tessinís Faunillane, ou líInfante Jaune, published in 1741. Tessin, the Swedish Ambassador at the Court of France, originally wrote the fairy tale in order to shine in the salon of French socialite Madame de Tencin (1682-1749), and was on his way of having it handsomely published by Prault when he was suddenly recalled to Sweden. Only two copies were ever printed but Tessin took them back with him and made a gift of the plates to the publisher Prault, supposedly because he did not want to seem frivolous back home given the bizarre subject matter of the illustrations. The printer was thus faced with the problem of finding a text to accompany the plates. He proposed the idea to three writers, Comte de Caylus, Voisenon and Duclos, and it was Duclosí text that was chosen to invent a new story for Tessinís plates. The version given in L.S. Augerís Notice sur Duclos, more directly involves the artist François Boucher and says that Tessin left him both his drawings and the plates and the latter then turned to Duclos for advice over what to do with them. Regardless, Duclosís was voted best and it was first published here as Acajou and Zirphile, a curious and sometimes sensual, satiric fairy tale. Among the novelties of this small volume, not the least remarkable is the dedication of this fairy romance to the public, which excited great attention, and charmed and provoked our authorís fickle patron. Duclos here openly ridicules, and dares his protector and his judge. This hazardous attack was successful, and the author soon acquired the reputation, which he afterwards maintained, of being a writer who little respected the common prejudices of the world. The history of this text is significant as is proves to be one of the earliest cases of a non-explanatory text being commissioned to accompany a set of plates. The story also has the merit of connecting Boucher with another convivial society of litterateurs. Cohen-De Ricci 331. Bookseller Inventory # D7815
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