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F. Leteur

F. Leteur, was a technician and chemistry assistant at the Sorbonne ("préparateur a la Faculté des Sciences"--the University of Paris, which included the Sorbonne, had the only Faculty of Sciences in Paris at that time) around the turn of the century, ca. 1900-1920. He is one of the most maddeningly obscure figures in the history of mineralogical literature and mineral art.

Besides a single undated mineralogical book, he published several obscure articles on the chemistry of minerals. He was elected a member of the Société Chimique de France in 1894 and the Société Française de Minéralogie et de Cristallographie in 1905. He remained listed in the membership rolls of the later society until 1937. Unfortunately, his first name is never referred to except for the single initial, F.

Leteur's principal publication was Traité Élémentaire de Minéralogie Pratique, published in Paris some time between 1907 and 1920. According to the title page it was published by Librairie Ch. Delagrave in Paris, and at the bottom of the last page the printer is given as the "Société Anonyme d'Imprimeries de Villefranche-de-Rouergue, Jules Bardoux, Director." The book contains 26 chromolithographic plates printed in 15 colors, depicting a substantial suite of mineral specimens, many of them quite fine, which one might reasonably presume were selected by Leteur from the Sorbonne mineralogy collection. Unfortunately he does not confirm where the specimens came from, and the current curator of the Sorbonne collection, Jean-Claude Bouillard, has searched the collection diligently without finding any of the illustrated specimens. Nor does Leteur state who the artist was. It is possible that the plates were produced earlier in Germany or Czechoslovakia; the same plates appear in A. Sauer's Mineralkunde, published in Stuttgart (no date -- probably around 1905 - 1910) and also in A. Bernard's Atlas Mineralu, published in Prague in 1907. It appears that the expensive plates, like those in Kurr's Mineralreich, did multiple duty by being supplied to several different publishers. In any case, the mineral images, clearly artworks and not based on photographs, are competently executed and constitute some of the last good mineral art to be formally published as book illustrations in the 20th century. They mark the end of a centuries-long era in book publishing, after which artists were finally replaced by photographers.


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Number of artworks found: 41 | Artworks being viewed: 41 to 41

The Mineralogical Record: F. Leteur - Stilbite from the Faeroe Islands Stilbite from the Faeroe Islands
Chromolithographic print (ca.1910) by an unnamed artist, apparently depicting a 2.3-inch specimen natural size (?), probably from the collection of the Sorbonne, University of Paris. Published as Plate 24, Figure 7 in Leteur's undated Traité Élémentaire de Minéralogie Pratique (ca.1910).
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