Paris: Au Bureau du Journal des Dames, 1798. Item #04818
A "Printed Masterpiece"
"The Most Interesting and Most Rare Collection"
of Contemporary Fashion and Manners
DEBUCOURT, Philibert-Louis. Modes et Manieres du Jour, à Paris à la fin du 18ême Siècle et au Commencement de 19ême; Collection de 52 Gravures colorieés. Paris: Au Bureau du Journal des Dames, [1798-1808].
First edition. Quarto 9 5/8 x 6 1/16 in; 245 x 154 mm.). Engraved title-page and fifty two hand-colored engravings by Philippe-Louis Debucourt.
Early nineteenth century quarter tan calf over pink marbled boards with green calf corners. Smooth spine ruled and decorated in gilt, black morocco label lettered in gilt, green marbled endpapers and edges. On a front blank leaf is an early ink inscription "Ce volume Des Modes et Manieres du Jour a été acheté, en 1866 [erased] francs." (This volume Des Modes et Manieres du Jour was bought, in 1866 [erased] francs). A wonderful example in it's original binding with the hand colored plates bright and fresh.
We have handled only one other copy of this book over the past fifty years - the margins were larger - the sheet size was quarto measuring 11 3/8 x 8 3/8 in; 289 x 213 mm. The engraved image was the same as the copy here offered. all citings of this book refer to it as being octavo. It is possible that the other example that we handled was a 'large-paper' copy.
Only two copies have appeared at auction within the past sixty-nine years - a complete copy in 1949 and an imperfect copy in 1986 "8vo, - lev by Zaehnsdorf - With engraved title & 48 color plates only. - Lacking Plates 38, 39, 49 & 52 (these replaced from a later Ed). Most plates cut down to platemark; Plate 3 cut down to illust - Christie's, Jun 25, 1986, lot 34, £2,400 ($3,621)".
OCLC/KVK locate only one first edition copy, at the Morgan Library (measuring 10 3/4 x 7 inches; 273 x 179 mm.).
"From 1785 to 1800 Debucourt created 64 engraved works, all after his own paintings in oil, gouache, and watercolor. He experimented widely with color-printing techniques, including intaglio engraving, mezzotint, soft-ground etching and aquatint. For the most part the color was printed using several plates. When engraving his own works, he exploited in particular his caricature style, as in the series presented here, the Modes et Manieres du jour. Published over a period of eleven years, these 52 plates remain as Debucourt's printed masterpiece, illustrating the excellence of the artist as printmaker, combining as they do the decorative beauty of a fine fashion periodical, together with comic dramatisations of French high society: images of secret lovers, of the unwanted suitor - each plate complete with amusing title" (Fenaille, L'oeuvre gravé de P.-L. Debucourt, pp. 71-122).
"In his prime…Debucourt (1755-1832] ranked as the supreme master of engravings printed in color. He was already an accomplished genre painter in 1785 when he perfected his process of printing in color with five successive coppers, which enabled him to achieve in his prints the delicacy, the suavity, and the freshness of painting itself" (Ray, The Art of the French Illustrated Book, p. 146).
A famous French painter of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Philibert-Louis Debucourt studied art in Paris, under Vien. Most of his early works were created in mezzotint, but around 1785 he began working in the medium he will always be best remembered for -- the aquatint. Newly invented, the aquatint medium appealed to Debucourt for its granular tones and hues. He began experimenting with larger plates and with designs printed entirely in colours. Thus one of the more important elements of Debucourt's aquatints is that of innovation.
Debucourt's influence spread to many genres. He was, as one can see from La Belle Frascatane, a gifted interpreter of portraits and old master designs. He was also one of the last great engravers of the 'Estampe Gallant'; those delightfully decadent French prints of noble intrigues and affairs which were most popular before the French Revolution. Lastly, he was also a satirist of his society, and one can see in some of his finest works, such as, Promenade du Palais-Royale, a direct line of comparison between Debucourt and his English contemporary, Thomas Rowlandson. Later, in the early 1800's, Debucourt again attracted international attention with his fine aquatints after the designs of Carle Vernet and others.
"Série très rare de 52 pièces dessinées et gravées a l'eau-forte par Debucourt". (Fenaille).
'Very rare series of 52 pieces drawn and etched by Debucourt." (translation).
"This is the rarest and the most interesting of the collections of fashion plates so characteristic of the beginning of the 19th century, including hairstyles and headwear. An unknown publisher made very poor copies of this series around 1880, while Ed. Gosselin published a fine reproduction in 1912" (Bobins).
"C’est le plus intéressant et aussi le plus rare des recueils de modes si caractéristiques du commencement du XIX siècle. Il a été fait des copies très trompeuses de cette série exécutées vers 1880 par un inconnu; l’éditeur Ed. Gosselin en a publié, vers 1912, une reproduction assez soignée au prix de 350 fr." (Colas 814 ).
"It is the most interesting and also the rarest of the fashion collections so characteristic of the beginning of the 19th century. Very misleading copies of this series were made around 1880 by an unknown person; the publisher Ed. Gosselin published, around 1912, a fairly neat reproduction at a price of 350 fr." (translation).
Colas 814; Hiler p. 223; Bobins, 929; Not in Lipperheide.