Lady’s Periodicals from mid 1700’s till the end of 1900’s
It all started with the ” The Lady’s Magazine; or Entertainment Companion for the Fair Sex, Appropriated Solely to Their Use and Amusement”. The magazine began it’s publication in August 1770 and ran until 1847.
It featured articles on fiction, poetry, fashion, music and social gossip (Wikipedia). Our particular interest here are the fashion engraving, or the so called fashion plates.
At the beginning the magazine did not contain fashion plates, but as their popularity grew they began to include ,infrequently at first, fashion engravings depicting elegant ladies showing off the latest fashion trends from London and Paris. By the onset of 1800’s each issue included both coloured and black and white plates.
Multitude of Lady’s Periodicals followed. With the fashion plates being at their height by 1850.
With the ease of today’s printing few of us realize how much time and effort was needed in order to produce each and every one of the plates.
The process normally started with the artist excuting a drawing , which was then translated into copper engraving by an engraver who often signed the print as well. Those are the two signatures visible on most of the fashion plates. Any tonal and modular shading would be done with hash marks and lines of the engraving. The final step was to complete the print with with application of solid washes of colour, done by a team of teens or women, each applying one colour. Each colour tone was prepared by diluting pigment into small cup of water, then wait until the pigment settles, the shade is then carefully applied.
In the following pages we will attempt to combine a bit of history regarding each periodical and as complete as possible fashion plate repository.
At the moment we are faced with a mountain of raw materials which need to be scanned, cataloged and uploaded. Please visit often for updates.