A Treasure and a Passion

I want to share with you something that I love with a great passion and curiosity. I’ve always liked antique fashion prints – especially those dating to the first quarter of the 1800s – known as the Regency period in England or the Empire period in France. The French fashion plate series called Costume Parisien are one of my faves, as are the English prints by Ackermann and from the publication La Belle Assemblee.

I started buying these prints a few years ago, when they were quite cheap and easy to come by. Now they are rapidly becoming more expensive and collectible. Ackermann prints can now cost upwards of 50  pounds each when a few years ago I could buy one for 15 pounds.

A little while ago I came across the Holy Grail of fashion prints (for me at least)  – those from French publication the Magasin des Modes Nouvelles and it’s earlier manifestation the Cabinet des Modes. These are quite hard to come by and when I see them, I try to grab them. My collection is humble – 11 prints so far – and I hope to keep adding to it whenever I can afford to do so.  I will happily go without a new pair of shoes or a new top to buy one of these prints.

Don’t you just love the hats on those ladies? And the attention to detail in their ribbons and accessories is so sweet. And to think that Australia had hardly been colonised for a decade when people were prancing around Paris in these elaborate head embellishments.

Here is another from Magasin des Modes showing a full dress.

And what about this bed? The magazine also featured decorative arts from the era, such as furniture, chandeliers and porcelain.

And here is an example of a Costume Parisien print. They range in date from the late 1700s right through to the 20th century Jazz Age. Most of what I collect are from the period of late 1700s to around 1830. The earlier ones are quite collectible and this later one is equally delightful – each one has a number so the closer to ‘1’, the older it is.

I will be using some of these prints in a new project I am working on, and I hope to annouce a whole new product line which should be availabel around June/July. Stay tuned!


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