J. J. Grandville (1803 - 1847)

A Frog in an Overcoat, Holding a Top Hat and Cane

Pen and brown ink and watercolour.
224 x 173 mm. (8 3/4 x 6 3/4 in.)


This drawing is related to Grandville’s illustrations for the Scènes de la vie privée et publique des animaux. This remarkable work, based entirely around Grandville’s animal drawings, was the idea of the young publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel, who commissioned stories from Honoré de Balzac, Alfred de Musset and other writers to accompany the illustrations. Hetzel himself wrote the introduction and several of the stories under the pseudonym of P.-J. Stahl. The Scènes de la vie privée et publique des animaux was issued in a hundred instalments between November 1840 and December 1842, and the complete set was published in two volumes in 1842. It was republished in 1866 as Les Animaux peints par eux-mêmes et dessinés par un autre.

The present sheet was used to illustrate a story by Louis Francois L’Héritier de l’Ain, entitled ‘Pérégrination mémoriale du doyen des crapauds’. Taking the form of a reminiscence by an old toad, the story tells tales of his youthful adventures. Grandville’s drawing of an elegantly-dressed frog, bearing the caption ‘Les doyen des Crapauds’, served as the frontispiece to the story.

Anonymous sale, Milan, Sotheby’s, 8 May 2001, part of lot 515
P. & D. Colnaghi, London, in 2001
Private collection, London.


A Frog in an Overcoat, Holding a Top Hat and Cane

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