London: Printed for Richard Ware at the Bible & Sun in Amen-Corner Warwick-Lane, [1732-1733]. Single broadsheet volume, measuring 8 x 5.25 inches: engraved title page and twelve copper-engraved plates. Later pink and gold floral paper boards. Typed label identifying this copy as “NEVINSON LOAN 1979 No. 18” on front pastedown; penciled ownership signature of costume historian J. L. Nevinson to front free endpaper, dated 1953; penciled note to rear free endpaper. Penciled numbers and occasional smudge to margins of plates.
First edition of this detailed visual guide to early eighteenth-century “modes:” hairstyles, costumes, and attitudes. A leading French engraver of his day, Bernard Picart depicts fashionable men and women in social contexts, providing a template for those struggling to capture the gestures and expressions of the moment: three plates are devoted to the proper positioning of the hands. The owner of this copy, John Lea Nevinson (1904-1985), was a founder of the British Costume Society and a curator at the Victoria & Albert Museum. A penciled inscription in his hand notes: “A later edition of this series, partly signed (and ? re-engraved) by B. Cole is numbered outside the ruled lines of each plate. Numbers here added in pencil.” The four signed plates in this copy are by George Bickham and George Bickham, Jr.; five images are numbered in the plate inside the ruled borders. A near-fine copy of a scarce title, a drawing book for the drawing room.