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Album of designs for fancy goods.

France, 18th century.
Physical Description:
1 volume (352 pages) : etching, engraving ; 17 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
NE647.2 P38
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Bound in contemporary green quarter morocco and green cloth.
The volume includes hundreds of etched or engraved designs, most round in shape, most approximately 3 or 4 cm in diameter. Designs are present on 132 pages; 220 pages are blank. Approximately 6 to 20 designs are pasted per page, rectos and versos. Some designs are hand-colored. Infrequently interspersed are designs drawn in graphite or pen-and-ink.
The album includes a large variety of Rococo and Neoclassical designs, presumably compiled to demonstrate the breadth of the engraver's repertoire. The images include abstract forms, architectural details and urns, and floral and foliate motifs. Also present are designs with human and animal figures, including bucolic scenes and allegorical vignettes, putti, women in flowing robes, charioteers, cornucopia, horses, musical instruments and a military encampment with a cannon. One of the most elaborate designs shows a man in peasant's clothing fishing by a turreted mill with a waterwheel.
Most of the designs are roundels or small ovals, suggesting their use as decoration for pocket watches -- around the faces and dials, or inside and outside the casings. Some designs have elaborate cartouches, with internal blank space for a personal engraving. Small engravings of this sort might also have been deployed on silver wine labels. The larger or oblong images suggest designs intended for patch boxes, snuff boxes, or powder boxes.
The hand-colored designs at the end of the volume may have been used for watch cases decorated en ronde-bosse -- characterized by an opaque coating of enamel. This technique was used on fine French watch cases in the eighteenth century, often built up into high relief.
Subject Terms:
Decoration and ornament.
Enameled ware.
Engravers -- France.
Engraving, French.
Etching, French.
Fancy goods.
Patch boxes.
Pocket watches.
Snuff boxes and bottles.
Graphite drawings.
Ink drawings.
Sample books.

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