The Art (and Humor) of Book Covers

Pictorial cover stamped in black and gold
 Bêtes et Gens by Stop (Paris: E. Plon, 1880; 25cm)
Schmulowitz Collection of Wit & Humor, SFPL

"Never judge a book by its cover." We know this adage to be true some of the time, but when we find beautifully illustrated bindings and want to share them with our readers, we just can't help ourselves--we judge. The publisher's pictorial cloth binding pictured here of dancing butterflies and drumming beetle is an enchanting invitation to the fables and poetry that await within. Stop continues the insect theme with a butterfly frontispiece inside. See the title page for a beetle couple dancing off into the sunset. Hundreds of additional illustrations throughout the book sweeten the reading experience. Our copy of Bêtes et Gens was published in Paris in 1880.

A contemporary of the artists J.J. Grandville (1803-1847) and Gustave Doré (1832-1883), Stop was the nom de plume of Louis Pierre Gabriel Bernard Morel-Retz (1825-1899).

This book is one of our favorites from the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit & Humor. Come take a look for yourself!

Frontispiece, Bêtes et Gens by Stop (Paris: E. Plon, 1880)
Schmulowitz Collection of Wit &  Humor, SFPL

Reference: E. Bénézit. Dictionary of Artists, vol. 9 (Paris, 2006)