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SOLD - Le Grand Guignol - Rare With Vovelles - A. Capendu Movable - 1800's

Capendu antique movable book
Antique A. Capendu movable book containing four movable double-sided wheels

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Le Grand Guignol

Author: Pierre Delcourt

Publisher: A. Capendu Editeur – Paris

12 1/2 X 10"

Undated – C:1885

Fascinating A. Capendu movable book containing four movable double-sided wheels. Highly unusual because it’s about a theater whose plays were designed to Horrify the audience!* Rare – The only other copy that we have ever been able to find lives in the National Library of France.

Condition: The book is in very good condition and complete. Three of the four wheels are original and one contains well done correct facsimiles taken from another copy. The turning rivets have been replaced. All movements work perfectly. The pages have aged yellowing but there is little evidence of wear or tear throughout the book. The covers have some edge wear. The spine has been replaced. The front cover remains bright and inviting. The title page contains a beautifully written gift inscription as translated from the French : “To Bernard Barber from his little brother and loving mother. Happy Birthday to their darling child. 1907” - See photos.

This large book contains four movable double-sided wheels depicting characters from a group of plays. Guignol is the main character and he as well as others are characters long established in puppet and marionette performances as well as in many books, including pop-ups and movables. The most well-known in addition to Guignol include Polichinelle, Arlequin, Le Chat (cat), Pierrot, Le Diable (Devil), Madame Polichinelle, and Madame Pierrot as well as several others appear on stage as the wheels are turned. While usually thought of as children's entertainment it was often advertised that Guignol's sharp wit and linguistic verve would also amuse "witty adults."

Surrounded by a red stage curtain, Polichinelle smiles at you inviting you to the show while Le Chat sits above a leaping, laughing Pierrot. A mother and four young children sit at the lower right awaiting the performance.
The book contains four performances with four characters each side of four double-sided turning wheels. Play titles and cast of characters are listed below:

1. Les farces de Polichinelle (The pranks of Polichinelle)
Personnages: Caassandre, Le Chat, Mme Polichinelle and Polichinelle, Pierrot, Guignol, Le Commissaire, Le Gendarame

2. Le vol du Chat de la Mere Michel (The flight of the Mother Cat Michel)
Personnages: Le Chat, Guignol, Polichinelle, Pierrot, La Mere Michel, Arlequin, Le Commissaire, Le Gendarme

3. Pierrot malade. (Pierrot sick)
Personnages: Le Chat, Mme Pierrot, Pierrot, Le Commissaire, Le Gendarme, Le Medecin, Le Diable

4. Le Chatiment (The Punishment)
Personnages: Pierrot, Guignol, Polichinelle, Truffald, Le Diable, Le Commissaire, Le Gendarme, La Bete

Collectors Corner:

*The theater that this book was inspired by was theater whose plays were designed to Horrify the audience:
Oxford Dictionary:
c [grahn gween‐yol], a popular French form of melodrama featuring bloody murders, rapes, and other sensational outrages, presented in lurid and gruesome detail. It is named after Guignol, a French puppet‐character similar to Mr. Punch.

Quote from The straight Dope website on The Grand Guignol:

“The Theatre du Grand Guignol, for years a leading tourist attraction in Paris, was the classic shock theater, specializing in productions designed to horrify and sicken. No show was considered a success unless at least a couple audience members fainted or upchucked on their shoes. In its day it produced some truly terrifying theater that explored the dark limits of what could be accomplished on the stage.”

Product Code: A-50

Antique Vintage French Movable  Book