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French edition of Meggendorfer's spectacular circus pop-up book, one of his best and most celebrated creations, complete with all parts.


Meggendorfer published the first German edition in 1887, to huge critical acclaim: it caused a sensation among German critics. Hildegarde Krahé called it “die überragende Leistung in seinem Gesamtschaffen”. It soon appeared in French, English and Spanish, with facsimiles appearing in the 1970’s.


The first edition had only six panels (four with pop-ups); two more panels were added to later editions (as here). On the verso of the first panel the circus show is announced, with the last panel listing the programme.


It features horserider Mr Fungolo, who jumps over a burning fence, acrobat Mrs Clara Saltarella, a Japanese balancing act, horse acrobats, dressage, and several clowns. The eight panels furthermore feature over 450 vibrantly coloured figures, including a live orchestra.


“It is like no other Meggendorfer”, as Maurice Sendak aptly observed. “When it is all assembled, it is ravishing. The color, excitement and delirium of the circus are all there and the three-dimensional effect is breathtaking [...] Circus is one of my finest treasures”.


Lothar Meggendorfer (1847–1925) was a German illustrator who worked for the satirical  magazines Fliegende Blätter and Münchener Bilderbogen. He is primarily remembered for his humorous, lively and ingenious picture books with moveable figures, rotating wheels, and pop-up designs. While he is not the inventor of moveable books, he no doubt was an important innovator and his work is highly sought after.
The Cirque international is among several leporello pop-up books that were meant to be displayed rather than read. And most copies that come on the market are incomplete. It's telling that the copy of the first German edition pictured in Lothar Meggendorfer's Spielwelt lacks several important parts. Though the copy offered here could benefit from a few small restorations, it is complete with all parts.

Meggendorfer's celebrated circus pop-up book, one of his finest creations

€ 3.750,00Price
  • Lothar Meggendorfer. Grand cirque international.


    Paris, Nouvelle Librairie de la Jeunesse (printed in Esslingen by Schreiber), [not before 1887]. 

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