Les Liaisons Dangereuses
Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
photos by Matthias Ritzmann
Amsterdam & Paris, 1782
[first edition, imprint 'F']
175 x 105 x 25 mm (each)
price on request
Four volume set of books housed in a four part chemise and slipcase. Full leather bindings in grey-green goatskin with sewn pink silk headbands and leather joints. The bord-à-bord doublures are
silvery-blue with the facing flyleaves and first/last twofold sections made up of a mottled red decorated paper worked from both sides. The books are housed in an extendable four-part green
leather chemise with paper sides in purple, yellow and silver/pink and silver/yellow. The meeting foredge clasps are gently held in position by hidden magnets. The chemise slides into a green
slipcase edged with green leather and lined with pink Alcantara.
The books’ designs are hand tooled with a free play of curves in two shades of gold and tapered lines in matt metallic blue. The book and chemise are titled in pink pigment on the spine, with the words running upwards, one on each book, with the author’s name on the fourth. All papers used are hand-dyed.
The group rests in a drop-back box which doubles as the artwork’s trousseau. Two drawers contain a.) all the tooling master templates that were used for the execution of the designs, and b.) two sheets of the decorated paper of the endsection. The trousseau is covered with a mauve hand-dyed fabric and lined with dark green Alcantara.
Les Liaisons Dangereuses is a French epistolary novel of the eighteenth century. Set amongst the sugar coated nobility shortly before the French Revolution is about to take off, it follows the
malicious plotting of the Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont. Lovers in the past, they are now united by their desire for avenge and moral destruction. Though starting out with a
spirited exchange their relation turns sour as their interests collide. Turning against each other, devastation is in the cards all round.
This is not a ‘sexy’ book as one might be compelled to believe by the title, but rather a razor-sharp pitching against each other of characters, morals, and innocence,- spiralling out of control.