A collectors guide to Antique Fashion Prints.
How to recognize the real deal from fakes and reproductions.
Fun facts about these fascinating engravings.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
1802 Costume Parisien Fashion Print
On September 15th 1797 appeared the first issue of the “Journal Des Dames et Des Modes” a magazine born from the fusion of two previous magazine attempts, “Le Journal des Dames” published for about 5 months and the “Journal des Modes et des Nouveautes” for 5 issues only. The fusion of the two was scheduled to come out 3 times a week with a colored engraving every 15 days. (1)
And I probably should mention here that the colored engraving was entitled: Costume Parisien.
According to Raymond Gaudriault, this publication, created by Pierre de La Messangere, lasted from 1797 until 1839 and produced as many as 3,624 hand colored engravings.
These fashion prints are deemed rare and considering some are over 210 years old it is not surprising.
So how to spot a fake?
Well if everything matches then the print is most likely a good one.
And you could ask: “what do you mean “if everything matches”?”
I mean: the size, the paper, the printing method, the style of drawing (especially the faces - I will show all the different faces in fashion prints in a future blog. Stay tuned)
The finished size is only 5.5”x8.2”.
The paper has a slight roughness to it. It is also thicker than regular paper for books of that era, as to support the weight of the press.
There should be plate marks too. Plate marks are actually a crease left in the paper by the engraving block (whether it was a wood block or a copper plate).
Now the printing method of 1804 should be a wood block engraving with hand coloring. Any printing method invented later in time would obviously be wrong for the period. No lithography, photography and of course pixels. (Oh yes I got fooled by a fake with pixels - I will explain in a future blog)
Here are a few more examples of Costume Parisien. One dating 1804 and one with men fashion dating 1831.
Note that on the upper right corner you have the number 2934 . It is the issue number of the Journal Des Dames et des Modes corresponding to that engraving. This print is also a little bigger than the earlier ones and shows the creases left by a fold.
No it is not a careless homemaker who folded this engraving. Although I wondered one day rummaging in an antique dealer's stack of prints.
It is just the way they came originally with the issue of the original magazine. Folded to fit in the mail box.