Bigarrures. No place: no publisher, no date [but ca.1790].
Oblong quarto (182 x 228 mm). 34 pages of text, including the title. 12 hand-coloured plates with printed captions. (Some spotting in the text leaves, short tears in the margins, some of these repaired, the short tears in the inside margins probably from the original stitch; plates with light marginal soiling, one with a marginal repair, one with a shallow crease across the image.) 19th-century blue leather, sides centred with a large arabesque in blind, flat spine tooled in gilt and blind, titled in gilt directly on the spine (extremities rubbed, sides lightly scuffed). Provenance: Gérard Nordmann (label; his sale, Christie’s Paris, 27 April 2006, lot 58).
RARE FIRST EDITION. THE NORDMANN COPY. ONE OF ONLY THREE KNOWN COPIES, the others being the Michel Simon copy, and the copy in the Bavarian State Library. Little is known about the authorship of this bawdy, quasi-biographical romp. Galitzin attributes the highly accomplished plates to a mysterious ‘William C.B.’, while the text is sometimes attributed to Andréa de Nerciat (1739-1802) or Vivant Denon (1747-1825). Bigarrures takes the shape of a sexual education in twelve acts, each accompanied by a finely conceived hand-coloured plate, showing assorted bacchanalias in richly-decorated interiors, a ballroom, an artist’s studio, a guardroom, a garden. ONE OF THE RAREST AND MOST DISTINCTIVE EROTIC BOOKS OF THE 18TH CENTURY. Dutel A-147; Eros invaincu 57 (this copy); Galitzin Supplement iconographique 45; Smith 15.