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Auguste Racinet (1825-1893)
Auguste Racinet (1825-1893)
Auguste Racinet (1825-1893)
Auguste Racinet (1825-1893)
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Auguste Racinet (1825-1893)

LE COSTUME HISTORIQUE. 1888

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Auguste Racinet (1825-1893) Le Costume Historique. 1888 RACINET, Auguste (1825-1893). Le Costume Historique. Paris: Firmin-Didot and Co., 1888. First edition, folio issue. The William Randolph Hearst copy in a fine binding by Cobden Sanderson of 'the most important general survey on costume' (Colas). Racinet's is the most famous of the 19th-century books on dress, and the first fashion book to use colour lithography. It is a wide-ranging survey of costume through time, an encyclopaedic work in the tradition of the costume books that began to appear from the 16th-century in the wake of the age of exploration. Publication was made possible by significant developments in colour printing technology, and a resurgence of interest in 'the other' as a new period of European colonialism gathered pace from the mid-19th century. The emphasis here is on continuity in traditional dress, rather than innovation in fashion, and linking costume to local history, custom and social organization. Racinet was keen to produce a visually appealing book that deployed chromolithography to full effect; in his enthusiasm he sometimes toyed with authenticity by adding colour to some of his sources. Colas 2471-2; Lipperheide Ad52; Tidcombe, Doves Bindery, 193; Vicaire VI, 945-6; Vinet 2141. 6 volumes, folio (402 x 284mm). 500 plates on 473 leaves, most chromolithographs heightened with gold and silver, and tinted lithographs. Red crushed levant, by Cobden Sanderson at The Doves Bindery, with his initials and dated 1895, the sides with a rule and dot border in gilt, the spines richly gilt in compartments with foliate sprays, gilt turn-ins with foliate corner tools, vellum endpapers, gilt edges; later morocco-backed cases lined with velvet (each volume expertly rebacked preserving the original spine panels). Provenance: William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951) – John Howell, bookseller (description laid-in recording the earlier provenance).
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