This hand coloured engraving (click) is from a William IVth fashion periodical called La Belle Assemblée. It came complete with the text, a fashion description of fabrics and styles of the greatest detail for May 1831. Descriptive text is so often missing so this was a joy to read.
At 24cm by 15cm, La Belle Assemblée is often much smaller than people expect when they first buy original prints. That's because at about 9" tall it was intended to be held for reading.
However the smallness means the engravings have a delicacy and daintiness, making them even more attractive to collectors.
Instead of collecting vintage or antique fashion clothes, many people choose to collect fashion related paper ephemera. This can include such diverse items as costume plates, fashion plates, ladies magazines, paper dressmaking patterns, paper fashion dolls, fashion drawings, fashion related antiquarian books and costume or fashion related photographs. Some of these items can be antique, vintage or reproduction items related to the era, but all capturing aspects of fashion through illustrations made long ago.
I collect fashion plates of both authentic and reproduction types. Just below is an example of a quality hand coloured 1831 fashion plate engraving I own and taken from the magazine La Belle Assemblée. This print was purchased from the eBay seller Cabrio4 who specialises in Regency and Romantic engravings. You can read more about the history of La Belle Assemblée and other fashion periodicals with fashion plates in my new section coming shortly.
As well as having a professional interest I collect my fashion plates purely for pleasure, based on criteria many women will understand. It's a completely non intellectual, non academic approach most of you will recognise. Firstly I ask myself - 'is it pretty??' Secondly if I buy it, 'might it be the start of a new room colour scheme? Thirdly 'might it come in useful for my website?' I honestly don't mind if it's a reproduction as long as I like the print and the quality of the original work shines through. Some prints on offer are crude and poorly executed, but as with most collections, with time you become more discriminating.
Taken from http://antiquedress.blogspot.com/