Costumes Parisiens, 1823-1828: 40 Colored Plates. 4 volumes. Paris, c. 1835.
In four volumes found in John Ringling’s collection upon his death in 1936 is a collection of fashion plates simply marked, Costumes Parisiens. There is no title page, no author or illustrator listed. However, upon further investigation, it turns out that this four volume set is a treasure trove of information on early fashion periodicals in Paris.
From 1797-1839, one Pierre Antoine Leboux de la Mesangere published, edited and sometimes illustrated Journal des Dames et des Modes, a monthly periodical whose main purpose was to expose the latest women’s fashions to its subscribers. The plates were later reissued in annual volumes entitled Costumes parisiens de la fin du 18e siecle et du commencement du 19e. These annuals contained not only the fashion plates from Journal des Dames also included the more remarkable fashion plates that had been published in other leading fashion periodicals of the time; most often Petit Courrier des Dames and Le Follet Courrier des Dames.
Noted artists associated with these prints include Emile Jean-Horace Vernet, Pierre Charles Baquoy and Paul Gavarni.
The four volume set the library possesses consists of both undated and dated plates, setting the general time frame for these plates from 1823-1834. It is likely that these plates were originally from the annuals published by la Mesangere, but have since been rebound to form the four volumes we have today. The plates make use of the copperplate engraving technique along with stencil and hand-coloring for the finished product. The plates are excellent examples of the fashions of the “Restauration” period in France, during the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy and the succeeding July Monarchy. Here are a few examples of the approximately 160 total plates in this series.