Plate Reproductions

1988 Framed Xerox copy of Francisco del Tuppo's illustration for "Animals Paying Last Respects to King Lion."  Gift of Rev. Michael Zeps, S.J., July, '88.

This is an object where fable-collecting connects with other big things in my life.  One of those things that I have done less well than others is to serve as a superior in several Jesuit communities.  The object here is a framed Xerox copy of Francesco del Tuppo's 1485 image of the animals attacking the sick old lion.  They are, one after another, paying him back for his heavy-handed rule over them.  They can do so now that he is weak and in his last days.  The lion understands it from others but is particularly insulted by being humiliated by the donkey.  My good friend Fr. Mike Zeps, S.J., was charged with giving a farewell speech as I finished a difficult stint as a Jesuit superior -- difficult for me, and probably even more difficult for many of the Jesuits there.  To offer a gift fit for its recipient, Mike actually went to the public library and found Taplinger's "The Life and Fables of Aesop" with del Tuppo's illustrations and chose this image of "saying good-bye."  Mike knew my taste well enough that I would enjoy the wit of the selection.  Notice that the donkey is not only kicking the lion in the mouth.  He is also expressing himself with another bodily reaction.  Fable can bring wit and even a kind of consolation to a tough moment!

1998 Félix Lorioux Plates. Two from a set of 72 reproductions, 8.5" x 11" each: "Le Rat de Ville et le Rat des Champs" title page and guitar-playing grasshopper from GA. Reproduced from Lorioux' Fables de La Fontaine (Hachette, 1921). Free samples from the whole set sent by Justin M. Jacobs, Jr., President of Fantasy Artworks, Palo Alto, CA.

I was confused, since the accompanying letter calls these (as they were advertised) "bookplate replicas." "Bookplate" here apparently means a plate in a book, not a personal identifier. I am sorry that I cannot invest $432 in reproductions from a book that cost me $50 for a first edition! But I am amazed at what people turn out! GA is matt, while TMCM has glossy paper. Apparently Fantasy Artworks means to prepare these as art to be matted and framed.