ALBUM -- A very finely bound 18th-century album of erotic prints. England, 18th century.
Approximately 88 prints on paper, various sizes but most c. 90 x c.110 mm, mounted on paper 235 x 183 mm watermarked with a crowned shield and the initials GR, or laid-in. (Some prints detached, some prints with small repairs, light wear). 18th-century red morocco, probably by Kalthoeber, flat spine with a black morocco label and another at the foot dated ‘London 1783’, richly gilt with various tools and small morocco onlays and centred with a gilt lyre on a onlay of vellum, the sides richly gilt with various tools, within a border of blue and black onlays, green moiré silk doublures, gilt edges (extremities lightly rubbed, small areas darkened, small losses to label).
A FINE COLLECTION OF EROTIC AND GALLANT PRINTS IN A SUPERB 18TH-CENTURY RED MOROCCO ALBUM, ALMOST CERTAINLY BY KALTHOEBER, one of the most important London binders of his day. Kalthoeber worked with John Baumgarten until 1782 when the latter died and Kalthoeber took over his business. This fine binding, dated 1783, is evidence of Kalthoeber’s earliest work on his own, and shows the characteristic Baumgarten tools which Kalthoeber acquired with the business, such as, for example, the Chinaman with spear. An early inscription recording the cost, ’26.5.0. besides the binding’ suggests that this was a commission to house the prints, rather than purchased as a blank album; it may be that the highly distinctive tools chosen to decorate the covers, the beehive, the ship, the lion and unicorn, etc., hold the key to the identity of the first owner. 44 of the prints in this collection, those mounted carefully on strong paper, belong to the time of the binding, while the remainder were added later, mounted on the thinner paper interleaves inserted by Kalthoeber to bulk out the binding. The prints, dating primarily from the 17th to the 19th century, are the work of Cochin, Pousin, Monnet, Duflos, Wolff, Picart, ‘JD 1636’, ‘VAL’ and Antoine, though most are unsigned.