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Gernaine de COSTER's Buffon, in a superb DE COSTER-DUMAS binding

[COMTE DE BUFFON, George Louis Marie Leclerc]
Lettre-préface de Georges Duhamel, gravures de Germaine de Coster.
Paris: Chez l'artiste, 1951

Folio (17-1/4 x 11-1/2 in.; 438 x 292 mm). Title and text printed in red and black on japon nacre, prefece by Georges Duhamel of l'Académie française, 30 wood engravings by Germaine de Coster printed by hand in Chinese ink from cherry woodblocks, signed by de Coster on the justification page. Copy number 5, one of 5 copies (of the whole edition of 115) with the first-state suite of the wood engravings on chine, a suite de décomposition on chine of Le cheval, a first-state planche inutilisée (not called for in the justification) on chine of Le chat, and a signed original drawing on buff paper of Le kakatões. Collates [7 ff.], 1 f. (drawing tipped on recto under framing window), 109 pp., [1 p.], [4 ff.], 30 ff. (first-state blocks, printed on recto only), [2 ff.], 6 ff. (suite de décomposition, rectos only), [1 f.], 1 f. (planche inutilsée, recto), [3 ff.].

Binding, stamped 1960 on rear dentelle executed by Hélène Dumas after a maquette by de Coster, in beige box calf with brown elephant hide forming a large sphere, inlaid salmon morocco, onlaid grey calf, blind, bronzed and palladium arching fillets, top edges gilt, grey suede doublures, brown suede endleaves. Morocco backed and tipped chemise and slipcase. Four or five negligible scrapes on the slipcase, else fine throughout.

This book, commenced in 1944 and seven years in the making, was finally printed "by hand, following the Japanese methods." De Coster, as she relates in the inscription, involved herself in every aspect. The binding, executed in 1960, is a splendid collaboration of de Coster and Dumas. See Guignard and Blaizot, Germaine de Coster, Hélène Dumas. Relieures 1935-1980 (Paris, 1981).

Provenance: Mme I. R. Delmas (bookplate, lengthy inscription by de Coster to M. and Mme. Delmas, dated 18 June 1965); Frederick R. Koch

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