Les Fleurs Animees, J.J. Grandville, Unique Book & Binding
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The Court of Flora: Les Fleurs Animees. The Engraved Illustrations of J.J. Grandville
Introduced and Edited by Peter Wick
Custom Bound Leather Binding by Kathleen Wick
This is the Peter Wick’s personal copy of The Court of Flora: Les Fleurs Animees that was bound for him by his wife, Kathleen Wick, a famed binder whose bookbinding resides in significant collections both public and private throughout the United States and Europe. I have handled an incredibly large number of books in my career and it is not often that I obtain a book that gets me to say “Wow” a few dozen times as I explore it in detail. Some books are beautiful to look at, some books have remarkable content, some books are unique because of its history of ownership, some books are unique because of their association with the person who produced the book -- this is one of those rare books that comes along ever few years that is special because it is all of those things and more.
About the Book - The Court of Flora - Les Fleurs Animees; The Engraved Illustrations of J.J. Grandville with an introduction by Peter A. Wick published by George Braziller, New York in 1981. Anna Laurent wrote a wonderful synopsis, “As a masterpiece of botanic illustration, the engravings in J.J. Grandville's Les Fleurs Animees (The Flowers Personified) speak for themselves. Exquisitely etched and hand-colored, the 54 plates depict an enchanting world of flower ladies, traveling amidst a floral tableaux of haute couture and insect courtiers … each floral maiden is an expression of her designated flower, culled from the garden of French Romanticism and its sentimental swoons. Published in 1847, Les Fleurs Animées imagines a world where the flowers reclaim the meanings bestowed upon them by a covetous Victorian audience, and become actresses in their own drama. They become nuns, nurses, village maidens. Exotic Lady Tulip bewitches, while fair young Forget-Me-Not mourns her loneliness. Expressing the personality of contemporary floral language, each femme fleur wears the silks of her society equivalent, and, with compelling histrionics, pursues her own dream.”
About the Binding - Issued as a soft cover, the book was custom bound for Peter Wick by his wife Kathleen using dark green Chagrin leather with hand cut colored onlays to produce a gorgeous full leather binding. Additonal features include handmade marbled endpapers and cutouts of the book description as well as information on her binding which have been pasted onto the second free endpaper. As is customary, she stamped “WICK” in gold gild on the inside front cover as her signature of the binding. The book measures 10.75” x 7.5”.
About Condition – The book and binding are in FINE condition with the only notable flaw being some bleeding from the hand-made marbled endpapers to the second free endpapers.
About the Wicks - Peter Arms Wick was born in 1920 in Youngston, Ohio. He attended the Kent School and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Yale University. He attended New York University and received a Masters Degree from Harvard University. Mr. Wick was an officer in the United States Navy during World War II and saw duty in the Aleutian Islands. He held curatorial positions at the Museum of Fine Arts, the Fogg Art Museum and the Houghton Library at Harvard College as well as rare book curator at the famed Boston Athenaum. Kathleen Wicks was born in Lake Forest, Illinois. She was a graduate of the Lycee Victor Druruy in Paris. Her work was highly sought after - and examples of her bookbinding resides in signifciant collections both public and private throughout the United States and Europe. She predeceased her husband in Boston in 1997 at the age of 75. Peter Wick passed away in the same city in 2005 at the age of 84.
Numerous photographs of the binding and the contents of book appear below. Although the picture may appear digitized as thumbnails, you can view them in the photo viewer by clicking your mouse on the thumbnail.
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