French Childhood Illustrated in Le Bon Genie (1824-1829)

The rather prim illustrated masthead for the French children’s periodical, Le bon genie, gives little indication that nearly every number contained a luminous lithographic plate by Jean-Henri Marlet (1774-1847 during its run between 1824 and 1829.  In 1824, Marlet was famous for having demonstrated the artistic potential of lithography in an ambitious suite of seventy-two hand-colored plates about all aspects of life in Paris.  He likewise documented French childhood high and low of the late 1820s as the house artist for Le bon genie.

Harlequin, Polichinel, a prince out of the Arabian Nights and more frolic at a fancy dress ball for little ladies and gentlemen. Plate for volume 1, number 39 (January 30 1825). Cotsen 11897

Papa shows his family a magic lantern slide illustrating a fable of La Fontaine. Plate for volume 1, number 30 (November 21, 1824). Cotsen 11897.

The fencing lesson. Plate for volume 5, number 39 (January 23, 1829). Cotsen 11897.

Hunting for butterflies. The boy in the lower left is pinning specimens on a board. Plate for volume two, number 5 (May 29, 1825) Cotsen 11897.

A familiy of Savoyards entertain passersby. Plate for volume 2, no. 14 (July 31, 1825) Cotsen 11897.

The dancing master beats time for his graceful pupils. Plate for volume 5, number 26 (October 26, 1828) Cotsen 11897.

A troop of elegant dancing dogs. Plate for volume 5, number 45 (March 8, 1829) Cotsen 11897.

Dance of the marionettes. Plate for volume 2, number 52 (April 23, 1825) Cotsen 11897.

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