A Paleolithic Funeral, 1870
- 26. Figuier, Louis (1819-1894).
L'homme primitif. Paris: Librairie de L. Hachette et Cie, 1870.
Louis Figuier wrote his first popular book on prehistoric life in 1863 (see item 20), and while it had one illustration of Paleolithic humans, it was primarily concerned with the likes of dinosaurs and mastodons. But the revolution of the 1860s in attitudes towards human antiquity must have made Figuier realize that there was a new audience eager to learn about prehistoric man, and he either answered the demand or created it with the publication of this book, which appeared almost simultaneously in French and in English translation. He commissioned 30 illustrations from Emile Bayard (1837-1891), who had already illustrated Jules Verne’s De la Terre à la Lune (From the Earth to the Moon, 1865). Bayard’s drawings, turned into wood engravings for publication, showed all possible aspects of the life of Paleolithic hunters. Here we see a prehistoric funeral feast; the dead man is about to be interred within the cave, and a slain mammoth, who supplied the food for the repast, may be seen in the background.