• Paris: L’Edition d’Art. H. Piazza et Cie., 1904
  • Vellum paper; Jansenist binding in dark red morocco
  • Inv. LM70
  • No. 27, unique specimen of a print run of 30

‘Bouvard et Pécuchet’

Illustrations by Charles Huard (1872–1965) and Gaston Hochard (1863–1913)
Binding signed by Georges Canape (1864–1940)

This specimen, which is illustrated with compositions by Charles Huard, also includes a watercolour and a pencil drawing by Huard and a watercolour by Hochard. The two-tome volume includes a handwritten letter by Gustave Flaubert which enhances its status as a bibliophile book.

Flaubert’s novel, which he began in 1872–4 and rewrote between 1877 and 1880, was found unfinished when the writer died. The first edition dates from 1881. The adventures of two clerks, Bouvard and Pécuchet, who strike up a friendship on the basis of an occasional meeting by the Saint-Martin Canal, was not well received by critics. The satirical message expressed by Flaubert, who sets his protagonists in search of universal knowledge in a small village far from the urban bustle of Paris, meets with resistance in the small local community, leading the friends to abandon their utopian project and return to their former lives as clerks.

Acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian through L. Giraud-Badin at the Arthur Meyer sale, Paris, 7 June 1924 (lot 283).

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