Another volume held in the Rare Books Collection of the Ringling Museum Library is
E. D. Rue de la Paix 17. Paris, c. 1880.
This volume is quite a mystery. It has no title page, or publisher. However, what we do know about it makes it magnificient. The book is bound in a cloth cover with pink flower and white background. The volume is a collection 9 total pages, with one image on each page, all in vivid color. All the plates list a number and then major clothing pieces and description. Each plate attributes H. Sicard as its lithographer, and Rue de la Paix, 17 as the address. Other than that, we know nothing for sure. These prints were most likely done by Henri Sicard, a lesser-known lithographer, for a fashion house during the 1880s. The address on the Rue de la Paix places the business at an enviable address, close to major jewelry and fashion designers of the day, including Cartier.
It is possible that the E. D. on the front cover stands for fashion designer Edouard Doucet (1817-1897), father to more famous designer Jacques Doucet (1853-1929). If this proves to be true, these prints would be some of the earliest of Maison Doucet’s foray into women’s fashions (other than lingerie, which started their fashion house). Hopefully we will know more about these wonderful prints soon. In the meantime, just one look at these beautiful plates and you will understand their appeal. Enjoy!