Mr. Vieux Bois Makes an Encounter

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Strip of three drawings showing a man meeting a woman in a park and his attentions being ignored

1. Mr. Vieux Bois's encounter.
2. Mr. Vieux Bois can see, with some bitterness, that we are walking away.
3. From the fire burning inside of him, Mr. Vieux Bois can tell it's forever.




The Getty Research Institute, the Internet Archive


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Strip of three drawings showing a man meeting a woman in a park, the same man alone and leaning against a tree while engaged in thought, and finally sitting home at a table and brooding.
The captions in the original French read as follows:
1. Rencontre de Mr. Vieux Bois…!!!
2. Mr. Vieux Bois voit avec amertume que l’on s’éloigne.
3. Mr. Vieux Bois sent au feu intérieur que c’est pour la vie… !!!

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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