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Lessertisseux GA


1890? 6 colored French cards with gold background picturing La Fontaine's GA. Almost 3" x almost 4½".  Paris: Lessertisseux.  €20 from Librairie Prologue, St. Ouen, August, '15.  Extra set of five cards (missing "The Greeting at the Ant's Door") for 75 Francs from Annick Tilly, Clignancourt, August, '01. 

These are curious cards. The background is heavily gold with sparse suggestive scenery, especially ripe fields, storehouse doors, and snow on the ground. The characters are children dressed in adult clothing. Their faces form the focal point of each illustration. A particular curiosity of these portrait-formatted small cards is that the characters seem to change clothing (and faces?) from scene to scene in the five moments of the story pictured here. Are we to think that a little troop of players are taking turns at acting out one scene each? The bottom portion of each picture page contains a few lines of the La Fontaine fable. They give the clue to the order of cards, which is difficult to decipher from the pictures alone.  The print of these texts, like the titles at the cards' top, is hard to read against the gold background. The text side of four cards is taken up completely with a uniform advertisement: "Grand Magasins de Nouveautés/Au Progrès/Vallée Ainé" with an address in Caen.  The verso of other cards is blank.  Perhaps the best of the illustrations is the fourth, in which the niggardly ant asks what the cicada did during the summer.

lessertisseux GA 1.jpg (27651 bytes)

lessertisseux GA 2b.jpg (28916 bytes)

lessertisseux GA 4.jpg (30156 bytes)

lessertisseux GA 3.jpg (27209 bytes)

lessertisseux GA 5.jpg (31018 bytes)