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Au Camelia

1890? 10 large (5½" x 7") cards presenting La Fontaine's fables. Text is set into the picture in a rectangle. Advertisers on the verso include Les Grand Magasins du Printemps du Paris and Chicorée Bleu-Argent Arlatte from Cambrai. Printed by Publicité Bascoul-Olmer Vincennes. Extras of four of the cards (DW, FG, GGE, and "The Heron"). €30 at the Paris Postcard Exhibit, Jan., '05. A full set of twelve advertising "Au Camélia," with many duplicates, from Malesherbes Antiquités for €40, August, '13.

The pictures are colorful and impressive traditional scenes. Often they include a second reference, as when DW shows the dog animals meeting in a circle at the upper left, while the bulk of the picture shows a scene of a poor old man (the wolf) conversing with a plump man in uniform (the dog). FG has both a fox and grapes in the foreground and then, slightly set into the background, a courtier looking up to damsels in front of a castle. Other fables, like WL, GGE, and "The Heron," are presented simply in one scene. Besides DW, my favorite among these cards is BF. People point smiling at a dowdy gentleman who stands alone away from the crowd. Other fables as yet unmentioned include FS, GA, MM, and "Le Laboureur et ses Enfants." The verso of the Arlatte exemplars presents no nore than "Chicorée Bleu-Argent Arlatte Cambrai." The Printemps versos all show the same picture of a child with a balloon inscribed "Le Printemps est l'ami des enfants." A curiosity here is that the "Au Camélia" card for DW has the title "Le Chien et le Loup," while other DW cards have the title "Le Loup et le Chien."  The illustrations on these cards are identical with those on Paris prize cards.

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