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The Complete Costume History (Le Costume Historique)


Albert Charles Auguste Racinet.


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Koln: Taschen, 2006. 39 x 25cm, 544pp including 473 illustrated plates. Pink paper boards in illustrated dust jacket with slip case.

Very Fine/Near Fine. Corners sharp, minor scratch to top of text block but otherwise a bright and clean copy. Dust Jacket in Near Fine condition with mild rubbing to top edges and light scratches to the back cover of the jacket.

Albert Charles Auguste Racinet (1825 – 1893) was a French costume designer, illustrator, painter, historian and author. From 1869 to 1888 Racinet worked at the publishing house, Firmin-Didot et Cie, as both artistic director and lithographer. It was during this time that he published both the L’Ornement Polychrome and Le Costume Historique. Le Costume Historique was initially published in 6 volumes; the preface to this edition acknowledges that the commentaries Racinet wrote to accompany his plates would have taken 1300 pages to reproduce. In this edition, Taschen has published select extracts of the original text (in English, German and French) to give historical context to 473 reproductions of the original 500 plates (Racinet considered some of the plates ‘doubles’ which have here been omitted). The plates feature not only costume but house interiors, furniture, armour and jewellery throughout history. In true Taschen style, otherwise scarce material has been made readily available as a beautifully produced piece of reference material for those interested in both art and history.