O terror!

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The tiger was there, climbing and hungry for blood
The tiger, in fact, had not rolled all the way down to the bottom: a large protruding rock had stopped it some twenty feet from the edge. Its claws had done the rest, and now it was there, standing against the trunk of the tree and climbing, the eyes on fire, its mouth open, hungry for blood.
And yet Robert-Robert felt less frightened this time, because …Read more »

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The Raft Could Take On All Of The Survivors

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survivors on a raft
The boarding took place in good order. The raft could take on all the survivors.
They were nearly five hundred the day before.
Now they were only eighty-two.
Among those were the captain, the doctor, Simon Barigoule, the Parisian, Squirrel, the big Flandrin, Lavenette, Griffard and Robert-Robert.
It was time they left the deck of La Rapide. The transfer …Read more »

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Adventures of Robert-Robert

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Vignette
The Adventures of Robert-Robert and of his faithful companion Toussaint Lavenette (Les Aventures de Robert-Robert et de son fidèle compagnon Toussaint Lavenette) was written by Louis Desnoyers (1802-1868) and published, as it seems, in 1839. The first edition consisted of two volumes, containing illustrations drawn by Frédéric de Courcy and engraved in wood by Bisson. The pictures available on this site are taken from the ninth edition, published after 1860, which counts only one volume, in quarto format (16×25 cm; 6.3×9.4 inches). The spine of the half-binding is decorated with false bands and covered with dark blue sheepskin, the boards with blue and orange marble-like paper. Forewords are paginated from I to XII and the rest of the book from 1 to 527. All illustrations are plates, except for the above vignette.
The story is about a young teenager and his mentor and sidekick Lavenette, and the many adventures they go through on their way to the Bourbon island, where …Read more »

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Going aboard

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Boarding
There are two ways of going up on board. The first one consists in lightly climbing a sort of ladder, made of small cross-pieces of wood nailed to the outside of the ship and to hoist oneself onto the deck with the ropes hanging to each side, in ways of handrails.
Robert-Robert went up this way, but Lavenette couldn’t be persuaded to use it.
“I say! He exclaimed to cover his fright, such a path is only suitable for cats! I have too much respect for my quality of man, my dignity of intelligent and reasonable animal, to agree to degrading myself to such an extent! I mean, really! ”
The other way had to be used, that is …Read more »

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The cannibals

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The cannibals
They were cannibals.
Every special event was celebrated by horrible sacrifices, after which the corpses of the victims were devoured. Here is how they went about these horrible feasts.
The victims having their hands cuffed in their back, a knife was stuck through each one of their cheeks, and another one under each scapula. Their back, arms and legs were slashed along. Then they were walked, with a rope passed through their nose, to the sound of music. Finally they were killed, their bodies cut to pieces, which were seasoned with kolla nut, and these awful dishes were eaten with relish.
The ear was prepared with pepper and it was considered an incomparable delicacy.
Robert-Robert and his companions could see that a similar fate was awaiting them and that the cannibals, when they had learnt of the shipwreck …Read more »

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Criminal monkey

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Judge and monkey
As for Lavenette, his Excellency had used his time in a less perilous way than our heroe. Being alone in the remotest apartment of the palace, engaged in a private conversation with Jacquot, and having nobody to try at such a moment, he had begun to try the little animal, to keep himself busy. The crime for which he blamed the poor monkey consisted in the theft of a coconut, with aggravating circumstances of assault and battery and breach of trust. It must have been the most bizarre sight! The man of law, wearing his emblems, gravely questioned the defendant, asked for surname, forename and occupation, enquired about the place of birth, the age and profession, wanted to know all about the circumstances of the crime and the reasons why it was committed, sought to eloquently demonstrate the blackness of such a deed, suggested repentance, by depicting the disgrace falling upon all kin, and the prospect of the scaffold which would be inevitable, if no change was brought to this reprehensible course and he finally required the most …Read more »

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The Trousset encyclopedia

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Trousset encyclopedia
The “Nouveau dictionnaire encyclopédique universel illustré“, to give it its full and original name, was published in Paris between 1886 and 1891, under the direction of Jules Trousset. It is said to be complete in six volumes, although a seventh one was released later as an update. The sixth volume is made of maps and charts. These books are in quarto format, approximately 25×35 cm and contain some 800 pages each, except for the smaller sixth one.
Typically following the eighteenth century humanist tradition, which saw the edition of the encyclopedia by Diderot and d’Alembert, it combines lexicographical endeavour with extended information on technical subjects. A particular emphasis was placed on chemistry and electricity, which were at the time fields of recent discoveries, as well as on legal matters. It contains numerous illustrations (over 3000) and in this area, the publishers certainly seem to have pulled all the strings : the wood engravings could be made from photographs as well as from other engravings, taken from technical books, or even encyclopedias published in France or abroad. Very few, if any, must have been made from original designs.
It is easy to imagine, behind this wealth of illustrations, one or more semi-industrial engraving workshops, such as the one kept by the magazine “L’Illustration”, where images where produced around the clock.
Wood engraving was at the time a popular reproduction technique, used in mass publication. The paper …Read more »

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