La fille Elisa

Pierre-Georges Jeanniot1904 (edition); 19th-20th century (bookbinding)

Calouste Gulbenkian Museum

Calouste Gulbenkian Museum
Lisboa, Portugal

The edition acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian, which dates from 1895, is illustrated with compositions created as etchings by Pierre-Georges Jeanniot (1848-1934); watercolour drawings that were used for the inset compositions; and sketches in pen, some highlighted in colour, which were used for the illustrations inserted in the text. The Franco-Swiss artist, a great admirer of Degas, also painted an original watercolour representing the novel’s heroine. The inset figures in eight, ten and twelve different states on dutch paper include pure etchings, proofs with jottings in the margins, ‘bons à tirer’ (final proofs) and proofs in sanguine and black and white. The vignettes in the text are in three states, including bons à tirer on India paper and an avant-la-lettre state on japan pelure paper. The original sketches and the different states form part of a separate volume.
'La fille Elisa', which appeared in 1877, is one of four novels published by Edmond de Goncourt after the death of his brother Jules. The writer may have visited a women’s prison where he was inspired to write a story about a prostitute condemned to death for killing the soldier who was her lover.


  • Title: La fille Elisa
  • Creator: Edmond de Goncourt (writer), Georges Jeanniot (illustrator), Henri Marius-Michel (bookbinder)
  • Date Created: 1904 (edition); 19th-20th century (bookbinding)
  • Location Created: Paris: Librairie de l’édition nationale, 1895
  • Physical Dimensions: 31.6 x 26 cm
  • Medium: Unique specimen on vellum paper; jansenist binding in ‘La Vallière’ morocco

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