Le Buffon des enfants
- The Franco-Prussian War
- Book One: Les Oiseaux de chez nous (Our Birds)
- Book Two: Les Insectes de chez nous (Our Insects)
- le coq gaulois
In his Buffon des enfants, Félix Lorioux followed in Buffon’s footpath. Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, (1707-1788) was a scientist. He classified his animals, and so did Lorioux. However, our second image shows a winged creature. It is a rooster and it may well be the emblematic coq gaulois (as in Gallic), the rooster of France. In 1870, France, under the French Second Empire, attacked Prussia. Self-proclaimed French Emperor Napoléon III was taken prisoner at the Battle of Sedan. The Franco-Prussian War was a bitter defeat for France. When it signed the Treaty of Frankfurt, in 1871, France gave Germany billions of francs in war indemnity, as well as most of Alsace and parts of Lorraine. (See Franco-Prussian War, Wikipedia.) I suspect, therefore, a soupçon of nationalism in Lorioux’s Les Oiseaux de chez nous (Our Birds) and Les Insectes de chez nous (Our Insects). France was again declared a republic, the French Third Republic, which lasted until 1940.
Lorioux’s insects are not only French; they are also anthropomorphic, or humans in disguise. Our insect musician, just above, has a dressed insect audience. Also, look at the image below this paragraph. It also has an audience. If they are dressed like human beings, animals are closer to children. Taming his animals reflects Lorioux’s insight into the nature of children. Here, Lorioux exemplifies a child’s need to identify with the animals of illustrations. One also senses that Lorioux was influenced by the very talented and numerous English illustrators of his age or nearly so.
The Internet has a limited number of illustrations by Loriaux. I will have to purchase books Lorioux published. Le Buffon des enfants was Lorioux’ finest achievement. Consequently, Le Buffon des enfants is a good example of Lorioux’s immense talent. The main, if not the only, source of Loriaux’s pictures featuring birds and insects is:
It is an admirable site. Lorioux’s use of pink is most fortunate. What insects are seeking in blushing flowers is their nectar.
About Illustrator Félix Lorioux (8 December 2021)
Forthcoming: Félix Lorioux (1 December 2021)
The Nineteenth Century in France (28 July 2018)
The Golden Age of Illustration in Britain (30 October 2015)
Love to everyone 💕
© Micheline Walker
4 January 2022