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A 19th century collection of all his graphic works on horses and horsemanship

Géricault, Théodore. Five complete series by the greatest horse painter of 19th century, including his famous "Etudes de chevaux" in twelve large folio sheets.

Paris, Villain for Jean François Gihaut bzw. Engelmann for Gihaut Frères, [1822-1823].

Royal folio (570 x 424 mm). With lithogr. title page, lithogr. portrait and altogether 49 lithographs of horses on 26 plates (18 double-image plates, 13 singles-images plates). Mid-19th-century giltstamped red half morocco with marbled boards.

All of Gericault's horse studies, each series complete as published and in excellent impressions on Chinese wove paper (chine collée), bound together and still in their first binding. The first series shows the various horse races in half-page images, including the Arabian horse as well as Egyptian, English, and French horses. "Cet ouvrage sera composé de trois livraisons, dont chacune contiendra quatre planches" (Delteil). The second series shows the various purposes for which horses are used (race, military, and postillon horses, among others) and is complete as well with eight prints on four leaves. The following six sheets with a total of 11 lithographs contain a series of six prints intended to illustrate the works of Lord Byron, while yet another complete suite of five lithographs shows farm horses (also published in Paris in 1823). Bound in between are four lithographs (on two sheets) which were published separately (Delteil 68, 70, 74, and 77, including Gericault's image of a Jockey astride on an English horse). The fifth and final series "comprises twelve prints and a titlepage. Delteil quotes a passage from Ch. Clément, which states that in order to satisfy public demand, the Gihaut brothers asked for a repeat of the artist's 'English Set', but that only horses were required. Six equestrian subjects from the original series were retained and Géricault produced watercolours which were to serve as designs for the remaining six" (BM catalogue). As all the other series were published without title, the lithographed title of this series was bound at the beginning of the present volume. Also includes a lithographed self-portrait by Gericault, not part of any of the series mentioned above. "Gericault est, sans conteste, un des plus grands peintres hippiques de son siècle [...] Les bonnes épreuves sont recherchées et et assez rares" (Mennesier de la Lance I, 545).

Of the utmost rarity: while the British Museum holds the complete suites of the first and fifth series, we were unable to trace any complete copies of the other suites contained in this sammelband. While numerous separate Gericault lithographs sold at recent auctions, fetching up to £3000 each, not a single complete suite is listed in auction records of the last decades.

All prints are of exceptional quality, showing rich contrast on superior paper. Attractively bound in red half morocco with sparsely gilt spine. Occasional insignificant spotting to wide margins; a few minute tears to edges (one larger one, touching image, professionally restored; loss to corner of one plate professionally restored). Altogether a beautiful copy in excellent, crisp condition.

I: Delteil 46. BM Reg. No. 1868, 1114.280. II: Delteil 61. BM 1876, 1111.328 (a single plate). III: Delteil 94. BM Rg. No. 1868,1114.312 (incomplete). IV: Delteil 73. BM 1868, 1114.308 (one plate only). V: Delteil 80. BM Reg. No. 1868, 1114.293.