Les Délices de la mode et du bon goût. EMPIRE STYLE —.
Les Délices de la mode et du bon goût.
Les Délices de la mode et du bon goût.
The return of simplicity

Les Délices de la mode et du bon goût. Paris: chez Janet, [1806/1807].

24mo (95 x 57 mm). Nested quires: letterpress foldout calendar for 1807, wrapping around text block; engraved title (a singleton, with stub at end of text block), 24 pp. engraved text, interleaved with 6 bifolia containing 12 engravings; enclosing, between pp. 12 and 13, a letterpress quire (A12) of [24] pages. Title and engravings with full contemporary hand-coloring. The calendar with 12 woodcut astrological vignettes. (Occasional light foxing to text.) Contemporary gold-blocked straight-grained goatskin, both covers with a plaque containing a central medallion with rural scene, cupids dancing below and ornamental rows of poplars above, with garlands, bouquets and ribbons, pastedowns of blue gilt brocade paper (the gold of the design faded), gilt edges (covers slightly bowed, extremities a bit scuffed).***

A fresh copy of a Napoleonic-era fashion almanac with hand-colored illustrations. The engravings of attractive young women and men in the latest Empire dress are accompanied by short verses on the vagaries, attractions and deceits of la mode, to be sung to popular tunes. Inserted within the engraved quire is a 12-leaf letterpress quire containing songs (Ariettes) from a recent theatrical success, “Fanchon la Vielleuse” (a comedy which opened in January 1803 at the Théâtre du Vaudeville, about a stock French character personifying the poor female street musicians who emigrated to Paris and other large cities from the mountains of Savoie).

It is instructive to compare the five bonnets decorating the engraved title and the illustrations of unaffected hairstyles, often decorated with just a few ribbons or a feather, and casual long straight gowns, to the complicated coiffures and extravagant costumes with tight bodices and giant skirts portrayed in almanacs just a few years previously. For two decades this informal style of dress, based on classical models, allowed stylish women to breathe, until the early 1820s, when slender waistlines and hence corsets came back in vogue. The men in the illustrations sport fashionable mutton chops, ruffled shirts with high collars under unbuttoned waistcoats, and long breeches (two are in trousers).

The British Library and the BnF hold copies of an edition with a calendar for l’an 13 (1804-1805); the present copy is probably the same edition with a later calendar. The BnF Catalogue général states that Pierre-Étienne Janet worked from the Rue St.-Jacques no. 31 from 1793 to 1801 only, but the imprint of this almost certainly later almanac gives the same address. Grand-Carteret 1465 (1804-5).
Item #4116

Price: $2,100.00