BOUVIER, Auguste (1827-1881). Le Sérail. Paris and London: Lemercier for H. Gache and C. Barbe [c.1840s].
2° (390 x 275mm). 12 hand-coloured lithographs with printed captions and numbering. (Scattered spotting, occasional light marginal soiling.) Original yellow boards printed in silver, gold and bronze (spine foot chipped, extremities rubbed, light soiling, joints starting).
FIRST EDITION, IN THE ORIGINAL BOARDS, APPARENTLY UNRECORDED. A series of finely hand-coloured, gently titillating lithographs of pairs of women in the harem by Régnier and Bettanier after Bouvier. The last one, 'Bleuettes', probably from another series but as issued by the publisher who may have decided to suppress one of the images in the Le Sérail series. The Bibliographie de la France for 1846 lists 10 of the 12 prints individually, but the work as a whole does not appear to be recorded: not in WorldCat or KVK, and ABPC records no copy selling at auction in over 30 years. Del Plato, Multiple wives, multiple pleasures: Representing the Harem, 1800-1875, pp. 88, 123, 143 (reproducing plates 3,5 and 5, and apparently unaware of other plates in the series).
The lithographs are: Le Voile, Le Chibouc, Le Musique, Le Perroquet, Le Language des Fleurs, L'Ecrin, La Sultane, Les Poissons d'Or, La Danse, Le Récit, Le Miroir, and Les Bleuettes.
Augustus Jules Bouvier first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1852 and in the same year was elected an associate of the New Water Colour Society, becoming a member in 1865.