It Would Be Folly

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A woman is sitting, a sample of fabric in one hand while tenderly touching her husband's
No my dear, it would be folly, I don't want anything || If you don't buy it, we shall see what we shall see...




The Getty Research Institute, the Internet Archive


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A woman is sitting in a chair, loosely holding a sample of fabric while tenderly touching her husband’s hand, as a salesgirl from the shop waits in the background.
This series relies, for its comic effect, on the fact that people, sometimes, do not quite mean what they say. The first part of the caption is what the characters actually say, the second is what they really think.

The caption reads in the original French: Non mon ami, cela serait folie, je ne veux rien… || Si tu ne me l’achètes pas, nous verrons…

The usual markers of regular book publishing are missing from this book: it has no title page, no author’s or artist’s name, no publication date, no colophon. It is made of a consistent series of thirty hand-colored and numbered lithographs sorted in ascending order, followed by the publisher’s catalog. It seems plausible that they were privately bound together on behalf of Caroline Janetta, Countess of Essex (whose bookplate can be found on the inside cover), but never publicly released in book form. The date we mention (which applies only to the lithographs: the catalog was printed at a later date) is informed by the publisher’s address, which changed during the course of 1841.

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