Charles-Gaëtan Noury
Rare and Beautiful Study of Tattooing in The South Pacific, 1861

paper and lithograph plates
folio size 39 x 26 cm

Ref: 5000260

NOURY, Charles-Gaëtan.

Album Polynésien de M. C. Noury, Capitaine de Vaisseau. (Nantes, Olivier Merson, 1861.)

Folio includes 17 leaves in all, untrimmed and unbound as issued, with lithographed title-page and single sheet of description, and 15 lithographed plates, seven of which are coloured and eight in black on a tinted background, on paper watermarked either “Rives” or “D & C Blauw”; in a modern full morocco fitted case.

Exceptionally uncommon and most beautiful work on tattooing, ethnography, and decorative carving in the Marquesas; ‘d’un grand intérêt ethnographique’ (O’Reilly), this is a remarkable collection of images of actual objects and original personal observation made during the early period of French influence in Nuku Hiva. The quality of the illustrated plates is outstanding, and the delicate lithography is a marvellous medium for conveying the immediacy of the original sketches; this very rare work is an important record of French Polynesia in the South Pacific, and is almost unknown on the market. Published by a tiny lithographic press in the author’s hometown of Nantes on the French Atlantic coast, the signatures of three artists appear on the various lithographic plates: B. de Girardot, Bourgerel and Alfred Clericeau. Clericeau is also credited as printer of some of the plates, most of which were printed by Olivier Merson in Nantes, who is listed as publisher of the work on the title-page.

Condition: A few spots, plate 13 slightly browned, but overall in markedly clean and fine condition.

Bibliography: O’Reilly-Reitman, 5289a; Anna Andruszkiewicz, “Auguste Théodore, baron de Girardot (1815-1883), antiquaire de province. Sa collection et ses publications”, Art et histoire de l’art, 2014 (ffdumas-01547382).


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  • Charles-Gaëtan Noury
    Rare and Beautiful Study of Tattooing in The South Pacific, 1861

    39 × 26 cm

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