Miroir des Graces, Dedié aux Dames, ou Dictionnaire de Parure et de Toilette. Paris: (Cordier for) Le Fuel, .
18mo (123 x 80 mm). [iv], 175 pp. Double column. Additional engraved title/wrapper with hand-colored fashion emblem (a parasol draped with shawls, necklaces and a flowered hat) and 15 engraved plates, on thicker paper, all stencil- and hand-colored under the publisher’s direction, one (of corals) also color-printed; tissue guards. Small closed tear in first gem plate, else a fine copy. Bound at end are six leaves on thicker paper containing  pages, one per month, blank except for the engraved name of the month and hand-colored vignette (with traces of old pencil scribbles); and a smaller format foldout calendar for 1822, with the imprint of Lefuel,the months in columns each topped by a woodcut astrological vignette. Publisher’s blind-stamped brown calf “cathedral” binding, the same block used on both covers, backstrip with blind-stamped ornamentation above and below the title, gilt edges, yellow endleaves, blind-stamped matching leather slipcase, lower cover of binding with silk tab for removing from the slipcase (a bit of scuffing). Provenance: Robert de Beauvillain, full-page etched bookplate by Charles Jouas, tipped to front endleaf.***
Only Edition of an unusual and still useful illustrated dictionary of objects, materials and concepts, most of interest to women and many relating to fashion. Covering luxury goods as well as common objects and materials, the dictionary contains over 800 entries, many including the names and addresses of relevant Parisian suppliers, making it a far-ranging encyclopedia of feminine material culture in Restoration France. This is a de luxe copy, in beautiful condition, bound à la cathédrale, and including an extra fold-out calendar and hand-colored ornamented cahier for notes for each month of the year.
From Abaca (a type of hemp or linen from the Philippines, of which the white plants were used to make a very fine cloth while the gray were used for cocardes) and Acier (steel being used at this time not only for buckles, belts, clasps etc., but also to make jewelry, a dozen examples being illustrated in plate 1), to Zéphir (a shawl made of net) and Zibeline (the animal whose nearly black fur is highly prized), the dictionary includes terms of apparel, footwear, and accessories, a vast number of textiles and related terms (materials, weaves, and treatments), furs and skins, common materials with a variety of applications (e.g., sandalwood, various vinegars and oils), objects used for personal grooming (sponges, tweezers, brushes, mirrors, etc.), many perfumes and eaux de toilette, gems and precious metals, furnishings and furniture, and even prostheses, including a long description of artificial eyes and where to purchase them. A few entries contain mini-treatises on social custom: the seven-column entry for Deuils, for example, discusses the proper length and appropriate mourning dress for various degrees of consanguinity. Some contain surprises – thus the entry on Marriage, far from listing bridal gowns and suppliers, tells a simple story of a painter and the changing perspective of a groom, before and after marriage. The language of flowers gets a special entry (which advertises a relevant publication, the Dictionnaire du Langage des fleurs ou de leurs emblèmes, of which I locate no edition).
Besides steel jewelry, the plates show rings and earrings, pocketbooks and wallets, necklaces, specimens of coral, fans, a splendid bouquet, brightly colored garters, bejeweled combs, 24 precious stones (on two plates), an elaborate feather headdress, a pretty assemblage of ribbons, and several large handbags (sacs-gibecières, two plates).
Perrot was a geographer who wrote and edited numerous works. Mazeret was an almost equally prolific writer for hire. The publisher Valentin Lefuel, active from 1792 to the late 1820s, specialized in the publication of almanacs, keepsakes, and children’s books. He was also a binder, and he offered his publications in a variety of different bindings, including “gauffred calf,” here in the “cathedral” style, inspired by gothic architecture, which enjoyed a vogue in France and England during the Romantic era. (I have not previously seen an example of this kind of binding on an almanac or almanac-like popular imprint.)
Copies are held by the Brooklyn Public Library, Morgan Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art and Smith College; outside the US OCLC lists only the Bibliothèque nationale de France, to which the Catalogue Collectif de France adds a copy at Rouen. Colas, Bibliographie générale du costume et de la mode 2023; Grand-Carteret, Les almanachs français 3476. Cf. S. Malavieille, Reliures et cartonnages d'éditeur en France au XIXe siècle, p. 24 (on Lefuel). Item #4087