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MOREAU, Jean Michel (1741-1814)

Garçon et fille hermaphrodites vus et dessinés d’après nature par un des plus célébres artistes et gravés avec tout le soin possible pour l’utilité des studieux.
Paris [1772-1773].

A rare little book on two remarkable cases of hermaphroditism, classified as being of the fourth class, that is with fully developed both male and female sexual characteristics and genital tissues. The two plates, intended to enlighten the medical student, depict a boy and a girl posing with grace and elegant charm in their boudoirs. The boy, Louis Hainault (1752-1773), lived nearby Rouen where he served apprenticeship to a shoemaker. His malformation had been ignored by his parents and his case was unknown until a few days before his death, when he was sent to hospital and was examined by surprised physicians. The girl, Marie Auge, born in 1755, was brought up by her parents as a girl. Her rare condition had escaped recognition when her secret by accident was disclosed. It attracted a great sensation and she was put on display for a “grand nombre de curieux et de desinateurs”. When the book was written she had escaped from Paris to take refuge in London. The fine plates were drawn from nature by Jean Moreau le jeune, one of the most famous book illustrators of the French Rococo and the most sought-after illustrator in Paris. He illustrated many of the classics of French literature, e.g. Molière, La Fontaine, Voltaire and Rousseau. His masterful plates often describe in greater detail than any text the manners and the material environment of the fasionable upper class in France on the eve of the French Revolution. His two plates of hermaphrodites may well have fitted to illustrate the works of that remarkable French author of extremely relaxed morals, Restif de la Bretonne, who used many of Moreau’s plates to illustrate his mind-boggling multitude of books.

Collation: Garçon: title-leaf, pp 1-7 (1) blank; Fille: pp 8-13. Two engraved plates. Title and text engraved within a double border. Title-page signed “Beaublé Scrip”.

Binding: Contemporary mottled calf with red edges.

References: Cohen 425; Brunet, Supplement 532; Gay, Bibliographie des ouvrages relatifs a l’amour, aux femmes, . . . , II, 390.

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