Fables de la Fontaine (Signed by Mercedes de Acosta)
Signed by Mercedes de Acosta at Chateau de Dieudonne in 1907, with 45 others
Undated but c1860. Half-leather binding with five raised bands and gilt decoration to the spine. Top edge gilt, marbled endpapers. French text. 24 × 15cm, xv + 393pp.
This copy was given as a birthday present in 1907 at a finishing school in France—Chateau de Dieudonne in Bornel—and has been signed to the front endpapers with a postcard to "Dodo" by 46 of the girl's friends, among them is the signature of Mercedes de Acosta (and her sister Baba). Her signature is found bottom right of the right hand page.
Mercedes de Acosta (1893–1968) was an American playwright, poet and novelist, and a famous lesbian femme fatale. She was described by Cecil Beaton as "that furious lesbian" and Alice B Toklas wrote of her, "Say what you will about Mercedes de Acosta, she's had the most important women of the twentieth century". Her affaires de cœur included Isadora Duncan, Marlene Dietrich, Eva le Gallienne and most importantly, twelve years with Greta Garbo.
She was sent to Chateau de Dieudonne after her father's suicide in 1907 and it was here that she became aware of her sexual interests with one her first romances being with a girl called Catalina, the daughter of the head teacher.
A collection of Fontaine's Fables, originally written in the late seventeenth century. This edition illustrated with twelve full page tissue-guarded plates by Tony Johnannot.
This is a very good copy. There is moderate wear to the board's outer edges and some bumping and rubbing to the corners but the leather to the spine is in very good condition with the gilt work remaining crisp, but with a little loss to the top compartment. The inner binding is secure, the pages are clean but age-toned. Some mild foxing to the plates. The pages with the signatures is in good order. A rare and collectible book.