Mr. Vieux Bois into a Haystack

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A dog and man are running together until they hit a haystack into which the man gets stuck

1. Persuaded the porters are the thieves, Mr. Vieux Bois runs after them. Twelve leagues in three hours.
2. Once at full speed, Mr. Vieux Bois, unable to turn aside or stop in time, darts into a haystack.




The Getty Research Institute, the Internet Archive


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Strip of two drawings showing a dog and man carrying a saber running together full of vim, until they hit a haystack into which the man gets stuck, whereas the dog shoots through.
The captions in the original French read as follows:
1. Persuadé que c’est un tour des porteurs, Mr. Vieux Bois se lance à leur poursuite. Quinze lieues en trois heures.
2. Une fois lancé, Mr. Vieux Bois ne pouvant ni se détourner, ni s’arrêter à temps, s’enfonce dans une meule de foin.

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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