Profile in the Manner of Sandro Botticelli
Embossed leather, hand-colored, circa 1900.
This highly unusual work is the result of chiseling into a sheet of leather, which was then shaded with a few subtle ink colors. This resembles the kind of work done by high-end French bookbinders of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Wealthy bibliophiles would commission artists to design covers for their paper-bound books. These compositions would be translated into embossed leather covers, and into which books would then luxuriously be bound. To this day the bibliophile bindings market in France can make certain bound books reach astronomical valuations. It is unclear whether Arthur Henri Lefort des Ylouses ever worked in such a realm. He is known, however, to have worked with leather on a number of occasions. But the exact use of this object will likely remain a mystery for now.