MONUMENT DU COSTUME
re-engraved by Henri-Joseph DUBOUCHET after Moreau le Jeune and Freudeberg,
with text by Restif de la Bretonne and notices by Grand-Carteret and Burty
Première [deuxième, troisième] suite d'Estampes pour
servir à l'Histoire des Mœurs & du Costume en France dans
le dix huitième Siècle.
Estampes de Freudeberg pour le Monument du Costume Gravées par Dubouchet
Estampes de Moreau le Jeune … (vols. 2 & 3) Paris: L. Conquet, 1881-1883.
Three volumes, complete. Quarto (28.8 x 20.0 cm). Half dark blue morocco and
marbled boards by Champs (stamped ticket), edges uncut, tricolor silk marker
ribbons. Slight wear to extremities of binding and occasional foxing to some
pages, else fine.
One of a "tirage exceptionnel" of 20 "collections de grand choix" of the engravings
in three states (pure etching, etching with preliminary engraving, and finished
engraving before all letters) on papier du japon blanc extra-fort de la
Fabrique Impériale (the remaining sets, limited to 490 but in actuality
probably not many more than 300 at most, were of single states only and not
on extra-forte paper).* The frontispiece portraits (Freudeberg after
Gottfried Mind, Moreau after Charles-Nicolas Cochin II), title-pages and tables
of plates are also present in three states. The first suite comprises 12 engravings
after Sigismond Freudeberg; the second and third suites each comprise 12 engravings
after Jeane-Michel Moreau le Jeune. This set is complete with the 171 pages
of text (and four tables), entirely engraved by L. Smith and printed within
delicate engraved borders, also on white japon, and retains all of
the original tissue guards, printed with engraved titles and in the first
suite with engraved verses. Copies of the text (limited to 370 on Holland
and, more expensively, japon) were offered by separate subscription.
The prospectus (engraved and on japon) for the text and other notices
from the publisher are bound in at the end of the third volume.
A truly exceptional set of Conquet's noted issue of the Monument du Costume,
with very fine engravings (images 102 x 70 mm) after Moreau le Jeune and Freudeberg.
Freudeberg's suite, conceived 1773-4, follows the morning-to-night ritual
from "Le Lever" to "Le Coucher" of different aristocratic women portrayed
as a collective élégante. Moreau's first suite of 1776-7 observes
the pregnancy and first motherhood of the virtuous Céphise in an aristocratic
nuclear family apropos Rousseau. Moreau's second suite, from 1781-3,
records the occasional activities of a young nobleman of leisure but concludes
with an intimate family farmhouse scene ("Le Vrai Bonheur") again reminiscent
of Rousseau and Greuze. For his edition of these suites of scénes du monde
et de l'intimité, Conquet had the plates re-engraved by Henri-Joseph
Dubouchet, a leading academic engraver, recipient of the Prix de Rome and
professor of printmaking at the École du Livre in Paris. The text pages, wholly
engraved by L. Smith, include the original introductions by Jean-Henri Eberts
(banker of Strasbourg who commissioned the suites) and explications by Nicolas
Edme Restif de la Bretonne (labeled "Voltaire of the chambermaids"), and new
appreciations by John Grand-Carteret and Philippe Burty. A bibliophilic high
point of the early 1880's exemplifying the academically illustrated "livre
de 1880," this re-issue illustrates the degree to which the bibliophilic and
philosophic ideals of the late 18th century came back into vogue a hundred
years later. Brivois 290-291 ("… des épreuves gravées avec une perfection
rare"); Vicaire VI, 1069-1070; Colas 1128-1129 (not knowing these 20 special
copies); Carteret, IV, 292 ("Parfaite reproduction, très rare et cotée, de
ces planches célèbres, fort bien gravées; elles ont eu un très vif success").
Provenance: presented by Conquet to M. E. Poisson, with a warm signed presentation
inscription in vol. 2 (which bears the earliest publication date); Andres
Roure (his gilt leather bookplate in first volume).
Note: The first volume includes an extra state of "Le Lever," earlier than
the other three states included as called for, with a tissue guard singularly
lacking any printed text.