Fleurs Animees

LES FLEURS ANIMEES HAND-COLORED IMAGES OF PERSONIFIED FLOWERS by J.J. Grandville (Paris, 1867)
--Referenced at the Smithsonian Museum of American History--

Les Fleurs Animees is a series of Victorian prints illustrating particular flowers in the form of lovely ladies in a garden of delightful folly. Just as Gulliver’s Travels introduced us to the world of Lilliputians, Grandville brings us beautiful women, dressed in leaves , blossoms and garlands. A dapper donkey, crickets turned musicians, a couple of admiring fish, a bold and beautiful goat, a desperate toad and a brash bunny all pay homage to the charming females. All this is the natural setting to display Jean Grandville’s fascination with an animated and psychological fertile, natural world governed by its own world of poetic and gracious originality.

J.J. Grandville (AKA Jean Ignace Isidore Gerard) was born in France on September 15, 1803, and died in Paris on March 17, 1874. He was a caricaturist, fantasist, illustrator and graphic artist noted for his inventive political and social satire. Honore Daumier, another famous caricaturist of the time, contributed to satirical periodicals. Grandville’s satirical series included Metamorphoses du jour. He also created the illustrations for Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1838), Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1840) and Chevalier’s Don Quichotte de la Manche (1848). His fantastic anthropomorphic figures combining human and animal characteristics have been considered among the sources for Sir John Tenniel’s illustrations in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderful. It has also been said that he was an influence on Dore, Hugo, Kafka and Walt Disney.