DES GACHONS, Jacques; [Albert ROBIDA, Illus.]. Le Ballon Fantome. Tours: Maison Alfred Mame et Fils, [c.1909].
Large 4to., publisher's camel-coloured boards, elaborately decorated with balloon design by Albert Robida printed in green, brown and black, fully gilt and gilt lettering direct to spine; with gilt borders and embossed device to lower board; all edges gilt; pale blue endpapers; pp. [vii], 8-142, [ii]; with numerous in-text wood engravings and full page lithographic plates; ever-so-slight rubbing and pushing to boards; with a few very marginal stains to lower cover; internally uniformly toned throughout, but very lightly so; a superior copy, rarely found in such condition.
First edition of this beautifully presented work on the fictitious subject of a colossal balloon, large enough to carry a small house to locations all over the world. Des Gachons came from a creative family - among his brothers were publishers, painters and novelists - and he is perhaps best known for his novels and publications on his home town of Berry in central France. The illustrator, himself a pioneer of French futuristic novels, also shared Des Gachons' passion for local history, publishing a large collection of books on the old towns of France. Better known for his caricatures, his illustrations in this work are particularly contemplative and charming.