Absinthe Blanqui, c 1900.
© David Nathan-Maister / Science & Society Picture Library
A preliminary sketch (or maquette) in ink, pastel and watercolour for one of the most famous of all absinthe posters, Absinthe Blanqui's smiling redhead, printed sometime between 1898 and 1901. The printer was L Revon et Cie, situated in Paris at 93 Rue Oberkampf. The artist's signature "Nover" is a mystery - no designer by that name is recorded. Since however the word is a palindrome of Revon, the assumption must be that the artist was Revon himself, or alternatively an anonymous employee of the firm. The same artist was responsible for the well-known Absinthe Vichet poster, also printed by Revon et Cie. The maquette has the girl in profile, gazing upwards at the glass of absinthe. She is facing left rather than right as in the poster, but her green dress, the sinuous green ribbons surrounding her and the serpent clasp around her arm are all echoed in the final version. The position of the girl's head and the design of her hair in this sketch are reminiscent of Privat-Livemont's 189