On Books

L’Illustration, a Weekly Newspaper

L’Illustration, a weekly newspaper

L’Illustration was a weekly French newspaper created just one year after the Illustrated London News, from which its publishers drew some of their inspiration. It met with great success throughout remainder of the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth, thanks to its editorial policy offering information about the world at large and, of course, to its dedication to let illustrations play a prominent part in… View page »

The Ingoldsby Legends

The Ingoldsby Legends

A work illustrated by Cruikshank, Leech, and Tenniel, even if it had no intrinsic merits of its own, would stand a very fair chance of immortality; but when the three great artists combine simply to embellish what would otherwise live as long as the English language, as long as humour and pathos, exquisite versification, and singular felicity as well as facility of rhyme, are appreciated, it seems superfluous to do more than… View page »

Jean Gigoux on Gil Blas

Jean Gigoux on Gil Blas

Histoire de Gil Blas de Santillane isn’t the first illustrated French book of the Romantic era. To name only two, Légendes, ballades et fabliaux by Bahour-Lormian (1829), Nodier’s Histoire du roi de Bohême et de ses sept châteaux (1830), illustrated respectively by Achille Devéria and Tony Johannot, already incorporated plenty of in-text illustrations. They, too, relied on the technique of wood engraving… View page »

On L’Artiste


When Jules Janin wrote in L’Artiste itself the history of L’Artiste, he gave a pompous account of magazine contributors with exclamations, enthusiasm, emotion, sighs and tears for each of them. He also insisted especially on the Johannot brothers for whom he always had a soft spot (they were the illustrators of his book The Dead Donkey) and, redoubling crying he crushed them under… View page »

Aventures de Robert-Robert

Les Aventures de Robert-Robert

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 is in… View page »