FEATURED IS ONE RARE ITEM: A 1906 LIMITED PRINTING OF LES MARIS DE MLLE NOUNOUCHE, UNE HISTOIRE DE CHATS BY CAMILLE LEMONNIER WITH SIGNED (WATERCOLOR) AQUARELLES BY AUGUSTUS VIMAR. BOOK EDITED & PUBLISHED BY THE FIRM OF H FLOURY, PARIS, 1906, HAVING BEEN PRINTED BY LA SOCIETE ANONYME AT VERSAILLES, FRANCE, IN 1904.
Other than being the rare item it is... Regardless of whether it is one of the "32" or remaining "368" as stated on the limitations page (There were only 400 copies printed total)... This book's ownership is a tale unto itself.The book came from the library of John Biggs, Jr. It had actually then become part of the library of his son, John III (Jack). Judge Biggs would have rec'd it from his parents who did go to Paris when he was about 11. Essentially, they brought him home a picture book in French about cats! And just like every good 11-year old does, he put his name label right on the cover of the book! Being in paper wraps, it was a book meant to be permanently bound by its ultimate owner. It never was and so, here, we have the book, "the short story" of cats (l'histoire de chats), just as it came off the press. Grew up in Wilmington, DE. He would go to Princeton where his roommate during his collegiate years was F. They remained friends and it was John Biggs that would literally bail Fitzgerald out of jail when he found himself incarcerated for public drunkenness, especially when Fitzgerald himself took up residence in Wilmington. John Biggs would ultimately serve as the executor of Fitzgerald's estate and guardian of F. Scott's daughter, Scottie when Fitzgerald died in 1940. He would also have full responsibility for negotiating all rights concerning T he Great Gatsby.
Biggs himself had quite an illustrious career. He gave the nominating speech for Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the Democratic National Convention in 1932. FDR nominated him to a seat on a new seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit where he would serve from 1937 until his death in 1979. During his tenure, Biggs handled more than 4,000 cases and authored some 1,500 opinions. He was rarely reversed by the U..
Supreme Court, the members of which bench considered Biggs as a one man ministry of Justice. Judge Biggs also authored several books himself... All of a much more esoteric nature than this picture book he had possessed since boyhood!
The book, written by Camille Lemonnier, was illustrated with 65 watercolors by Augustus Vimar. That is the reason for the lag time between the 1904 printing and the publication in 1906.
The signed illustrations were hand-colored by Vimar subsequent to printing. The limitations page (see pic 7) and the Grisay and Talvert bibliographies reference two suites in black as well as two original signed watercolors by Vimar being included in the first 32 copies of the 400 book printing, which 32 copies were stated as being printed on Japanese imperial artist's paper. The remaining 368 copies were stated as being printed on "paper d'Arches de la forme"... What we think of as artist's watercolor paper.
This book did not get numbered. (Again, see pic 7) It very well may be the imperial paper... Further, it is known that what was supposed to go into the 1st 38 copies didn't. Bit of a mystery all the way around.Bottom line is, we have here an approximately 150-page rare and fabulous piece of unbound 4 to. Ephemera with text and illustrations devoted to "Cats"!
Of which, at most, only 400 copies were printed. In layman's terms, book measures approximately 7.25" x 9.5". It is in overall very good-excellent condition, its technically unbound status notwithstanding.Covers show wear and, of course, John Biggs, Jr. S stamp of ownership, but retain good color. Back wrap has an adorable illustration of a frog taking in all the romancing going on between Mlle Nounouche and her "latest".
Paper spine shows wear, generally. (Pics 1, 2, & 3). The untrimmed edges of the watercolor paper on which the book was printed are yellowed. Top edge is actually trimmed. The yellowing does encroach into the pages themselves.
Otherwise, pages are all clean and unmarred with one exception. There is foxing to front endpapers... The front wrap and front free endpaper. The foxing continues up until page 1...With the endpapers and pg 1 being the worst of it. While rear endpapers are yellowed from age, they are not foxed to any extreme. I believe I also saw an area of foxing on page 107. But that is about the extent of it. There is no musty or moldy aroma...
Just the typical old paper smell. Paper with text and illustrations otherwise beautifully preserved and the signed illustrations are pure delight. If you love cats, are a Francophile at heart even better if you can read the language... And I assure you, "the story" is tons of fun, and a lover of the best in animal art... The "book" is actually quite heavy coming in at almost 1 lb.
It is due the rag content in the paper. "The Mermaid" is also still a bonded auctioneer and real estate broker who spent the past "many" decades' specializing in books, ephemera, estates, and real estate. Health issues have brought us back.
If we wouldn't add it to our own collections, we won't sell it. Hope you find something that you want, need, and, most important of all, will enjoy! Thanking you for your patronage in advance... It depends on the given scenario. That circumstance involves a fluid dynamic the specifics of which may not be clear until point of sale.WE ARE GLAD TO BE BACK!