Alphonse Daudet (1840 - 1897)
Auguste Leroux (1871 - 1954)
Sapho, cover

The novel of manners Sapho by Alphonse Daudet first appeared in serialised form in L'Écho de Paris of 1884, and was well-received both by the press and by the audience. The same held true for the theatrical adaptation by Daudet. He dedicated the work to his sons, for a later time, when they reached the age of 20: 'Pour mes fils, quand ils auront vingt ans'. The novel tells the story of the relationship between a young man and the heroine, Sapho, an aging courtesan from the Quartier Latin.

Versatile illustrators

Auguste Leroux and H. Bouché-Leclercq, who produced the colourful illustrations for Sapho, were both pupils of Léon Bonnat's, a celebrated portrait painter in that time. Bouché-Leclercq was also mostly a painter of portraits, although he was also employed as curator at the Musée Jacquemart-André and as a decorative artist. Auguste Leroux was much more versatile. Besides painting nudes, landscapes, portraits, and other subjects, he also produced drawings and illustrations for numerous books, including Un Coeur simple by Flaubert and A rebours by Huysmans.

  • Text by Alphonse Daudet with illustration by Auguste Leroux (p.3)


A. Ferroud owned his own publishing business under the names Librairie des Amateurs and Ferroud. The firm operated from 1884 until 1935. Together with better-known publishers like Vollard, he was one of the founding fathers of the artists' book ('livre d'artiste'). Although he published numerous books, little about Ferroud himself is known. Some editions note that F. Ferroud was his successor. While working at Édition du Monument, he published Narkiss by Jean Lorrain in 1908. He often marked his initials (FF) beneath the number on each copy, as he has done in this book.

Many of Ferroud's editions were colourfully illustrated. Due to the recognizable 'coloris' (range of colours), Ferroud was considered an 'éditeur de demi-luxe'. The illustrations inSapho were coloured in pochoir by the atelier of Berthelot.

  • llustration by Auguste Leroux from the series ofillustrations in three states

Bibliographical description

Sapho / Alphonse Daudet ; nombreuses ill. en couleurs par Auguste Leroux et H. Bouché-Leclercq. – Paris : Ferroud, 1925. - 253 p. : ill. ; 26 cm
G. Boutitie & Co. (Paris) (text)

Berthelot (colour)
1225 copies
This copy:
Number 89 of 175 on Japon Impériale.
With a series of the illustrations in three states, one of which is printed in black; Initialed by the editor
Bénézit 2-621 ; 8-621 ; Carteret 4-133 ; Mahé I-638 ; Monod 3494 ; Saur Allgemeines Künstler-Lexikon 13-288
Koopm L 480


  • Anne-Simone Dufief, Alphonse Daudet: Romancier. Paris, Champion, 1997
  • Henri-Jean Martin, Histoire de l'édition française. Paris, Promodis, 1986
  • Jim Maslen, 'The pochoir process in book illustration in France', in:The private library, 6th ser., vol. 5:3 (Autumn 2012), p. 103-127
  • Jean-Alexis Néret, Histoire illustrée de la librairie et du livre français. Paris, Lamarre, 1953