17 June 2003
FRÉMAUX, Léon J. (late 19th century). New Orleans Characters. [New Orleans]: Peychaud & Garcia, 48 Camp Street, 1876.
Small 2o (344 x 250 mm). Hand-colored lithographed oval portrait of a negress on title captioned "Tignon a la Chinoise" and 16 hand-colored lithographed plates (some dampstaining in upper margin, heaviest on front endleves, title and first seven plates). Original plum half morocco, black pebbled-cloth boards, gilt-lettered "New Orleans Characters" on front cover (some light wear, front cover slightly bowed). Provenance: presentation inscription in German from Wilhelm Gail to A. von Aschburg? dated 6 January 1876, in remembrance of trips from Havana to New Orleans.
FIRST EDITION of this very scarce New Orleans imprint, with finely colored plates. "16 full page colored plates of contemporaneous street characters, individually or in small groups, charmingly drawn and vividly colored, with an unmistakable French atmosphere" (Bennett). The subjects include: a cotton classer, sugar broker, merchant of rice fritters, Chactaw Indian squaws, the merry roustabouts, "Selling imaginary stock at real prices" and a chimney sweep. RARE: this is the first copy to appear at auction since 1991, according to American Book Prices Current. Bennett, p.44; Howes F362; Reese 93.
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