Elisabeth Sonrel


The Graphic Arts Collection recently added two small Catholic missals decorated with chromolithographs in the art nouveau style typical of Élisabeth Sonrel (1874-1951). Her portraits of pretty girls in soft pastels and floral wreaths are instantly recognizable from posters and other nouveau ephemera.

Sonrel only produced a few prayer books with the Tours publishing house known as A. Mame et Fils, under Paul Mame (1833-1903), son of Alfred Mame (1811-1893). Decorated bibles and illustrated books were the shop’s specialty where, according to one source, they published six million volumes yearly.

Missel, avec illustration par Mlle. Sonrel (Tours: A . Mame et Fils, [1900?]). Embossed leather with all-over cross motif within fleuron borders; elaborate gilt inner dentelles and marbled endpapers; in original marbled-pattern slipcase. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process

Missel des saintes femmes de France, avec illustration par Elisabeth Sonrel (Tours: Maison A. Mame et fils, 1900). Full morocco binding with four incised bands at the spine and the owner’s applied metal initials on the front board; all edges gilt over marbling; triple embroidered bookmark with metal piece reading “Credo.: In original hinged case with ruched ecru silk lining. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019 in process