Rare French Blow Book
FRÉRES, MM. Gangel. Le Livre Magique. France , [N.p., N.d., ca. France: 1860].
Octavo. [120 pp.] (7 7/8 inches x 5 1/4 inches; 201 x 135 mm). With 102 hand colored plates and 12 black and white.

Printed pink, green and blue pictorial paper wrappers. Rare French blow-book with 6 different sets of hand colored scenes, plus and additional 6 scenes: Two woman and a girl/ two dandies; two different sets of birds in tree branches; a dandy man/a woman with flowers (courting couple?); man with performing monkeys/man with dancing bear; a French soldier/ an armed Saracen; Punchinello and harlequin; castle/church; performing devils/performing acrobats (both in black); two facing bouquet of flowers and two title-pages. Wrappers lightly chipped along spine and fore-edge. A very good copy of this rare French blow book.

Le Livre Magique works by the small incisions in the fore-margins; depending on where you place one's thumb to flip the leaves over, a specific series of plates will be seen.

Ricky Jay comments on this "whimsically entitled" work which translates to "The Magic Book. fallen from the Moon 1500 years before the Creation of the World.." Jay explains, "This classic blow book appeared in many versions, with the year of its supposed recovery, and occasionally the images within, altered to reflect the changing times or the print stock of the publisher. ...I have seen some six French versions, published in 1845, 1848, 1853, 1860,1868 and 1870...At least some versions of this book [as in this 1860 copy] operate from left to right and right to left only, an unusual design; in the typical construction, the book has to be inverted the second series of changes."

Ricky Jay, The Magic Book, An Inquiry into the Venerable History & Operation of the Oldest Trick Conjuring Volumes, Designated "Blow Books" (Whitney Museum 1994), pp. 38-39 Gumuchian, Les Livres de L'Enfance, 3850, citing the 1848 issue of this work.

HBS # 68355 $4,500