Decorative Designers. Daudet.


by Alphone Daudet.

New York: Crowell, ca. 1895

Daudet was a beloved French author, generally shelved in our Classics section. This book, Tartarin of Tarascon, was his first big hit. (This is an English translation, so don’t worry–you can read it!)

However, this book is special because it was one of the books designed by the Decorative Designers. Their double-D logo is at the bottom right of the front cover. The Decorative Designers were probably the most important independent company doing design work around the turn of the century. Clearly influenced by the Arts & Crafts movement, they also help usher in Art Nouveau and Art Deco.

This is an illustrated edition, with the line drawings within the text in keeping with the humorous tone of the story.

A brief description of the story, taken from Wikipedia:

The Provençal town of Tarascon is so enthusiastic about hunting that no game lives anywhere near it, and its inhabitants resort to telling hunting stories and throwing their own caps in the air to shoot at them. Tartarin, a plump middle-aged man, is the chief “cap-hunter”, but following his enthusiastic reaction to seeing an Atlas lion in a travelling menagerie, the over-imaginative town understands him to be planning a hunting expedition to Algeria.

So as not to lose face, Tartarin is forced to go, after gathering an absurd mass of equipment and weapons. On the boat from Marseille to Algiers, he hooks up with a conman posing as a Montenegrin prince who takes advantage of him in multiple ways. Tartarin’s gullibility causes him a number of misadventures until he returns home penniless but covered in glory after shooting a tame, blind lion.


The book is in very good condition. The only real flaw is some tanning to the spine. Other than that, it is near fine. This is a “diminutive and delightful” book, measuring 6″ high by 4-1/4″ wide and just shy of an inch thick.

To see more pictures of this book, or to purchase it ($20), please see the listing on Etsy: