Selected plates

  • Entire book
Female beauty as preserved & improved by regimen, cleanliness and dress; and especially by the adaptation, colour and arrangement of dress, as variously influencing THE FORMS, COMPLEXION, & EXPRESSION OF EACH INDIVIDUAL...
London: Thomas Hurst, 1837.
With Overlays Demonstrating What To Wear And, in the Case of Cosmetics, What To Avoid. 193 x 122 mm. (7 5/8" x 4 3/4"). xxxvi (including 12pp. ads) 432 pp. FIRST EDITION. Extremely attractive 19th century red straight-grain morocco, double gilt fillet border to boards, spine comprised of six double ruled compartments with large central flower, raised gilt bands, lettered in the second and third compartments. All edges gilt, beautiful scarlet watered silk endpapers, delightful inner gilt dentelles. Original tissue guards. With one black and white plate illustrating hair implements, and 10 pairs of coloured plates, one with the face cut out, as a way of providing visual instruction to the reader, allowing her to contrast the effects of different styles and colours. A superb copy, in a very pretty binding, of this book of advice to the ladies of Britain regarding their appearance, recommending against following French fashion in general and the use of cosmetics in particular, with specific remedies for various body types (the too-slender encouraged to achieve a pleasing plumpness through indolence, long baths, and consumption of chocolate) and optional attire meant to compensate for an unappealing physical feature (such as a dress with a low bodice to counteract the lamentable affliction of "short neck"). An appendix "by a gentleman" here sternly warns the belles of Britain against following French fashion, designed to flatter the dark, unattractive women of France rather than English roses ! Although authorship is attributed to "Mrs" A. Walker, this book believed to be the work of Alexander Walker (1764-1831), author of books on anatomy and physiology. He wrote a trilogy relating to women including "Intermarriage" (1838) and "Women" (1839). In these books, he applied the scientific disciplines of anatomy and physiology to the female form, suggesting that the "mystical and derisive" character of female beauty be replaced by a more scientifically based analysis of portions of the body.

Coloured plates in order:

1. Management of Yellow Complexion.
2. Management of Red Complexion.
3. Management of Pale Dark Complexion.
4. Management of Thick Waist.
5. Management of Short Limbs.
6. Management of Broad Jaws.
7. Management of Short Neck.
8. Production of Character in Dress.
9. Simplicity and Ornament Compared.
10. Different Character in Ornament.
Hand coloured plates
British Isles, Costume, Portraits
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