Successful Escape

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A man helps his fiancée climb over a wall and carries her on his back on land and across a moat

1. Continuation of the escape.
2. The success of the escape is almost certain.
3. Yet in fording the ditch, Mr. Vieux Bois drinks a lot of water.




The Getty Research Institute, the Internet Archive


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Strip of three drawings showing a man helping his fiancée climb over a wall, then carrying her on his back, first on land, and finally across a moat where he has a hard time keeping his head above the water.
The captions in the original French read as follows:
1. Suite de l’évasion.
2. Succès presque assuré de l’évasion.
3. Néanmoins au passage du fossé, Mr. Vieux Bois boit beaucoup d’eau.

Rodolphe Töpffer’s graphic literature met with notable and lasting success, causing his books to be pirated, abundantly imitated, and sometimes translated into English. In 1860, the Paris publisher Garnier Frères set about to issue reprints of some of them and, to this purpose, had François Töpffer redraw the strips from early copies of his father’s work. Several reprints of these recreated plates followed, up to the 1920s/30s. The book presented here is a copy of one of these late reprints*.
Les amours de Mr. Vieux Bois was first published in Geneva in 1837 and is known in English as The Adventures of Mr. Obadiah Oldbuck (page saved to the Internet Archive).

For his graphic literature, Rodolphe Töpffer used a particular lithographic process known as autography, which consisted of transferring drawings made on special paper to lithographic stone. This method was cheaper and quicker than wood engraving while achieving equally good results, and it allowed for the lettering to retain the spontaneous appearance of handwriting.

*Many thanks to Töpfferiana for their gracious assistance.

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