ROTHSCHILD, Jules [editeur]
48 Plates w/ Tissue Guards Per Volume
13 3/4" x 10 1/2"
Vol I: 1878-79
Vol II: 1880-81
Vol III: 1882-83
Vol IV: 1896-97
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*Dolphin bookends sold separately*
ROTHSCHILD Jules (Editeur) Rue Saints-Peres, Paris: LE BIJOU Revue Artistique et Industrielle de Bijouterie, Joailleries et Orfevrerie Paris, 1878-1899 LE BIJOU was basically a pattern book. The subscribers would have been manufacturing jewellers, small and large firms in Paris and elsewhere - or perhaps shops which could use the suggestions to order pieces from their workshops; or again perhaps shops used them to show to clients who could order " one off pieces that could be made specially for them,
Each annual volume consists of 24 coloured plates which were probably originally issued monthly or bi-monthly to subscribers. There is no text, and our research seems to confirm that there was never any text, only a printed wrapper. Some volumes which I have traced had a paper cover for the annual group of 24 plate, on which the years date had been written by hand on a pre-printed label. Also, the pieces are not numbered, which they would have been if cross-referenced to a printed description.
Each plates shows a number of delicately drawn pieces of jewelry - pins. clips, bracelets, necklaces, pendants, coms etc. These are printed in rich colours on a black ground, giving the impression of sparkling jewels lying on a black velvet cloth. One reason that they are so vivid is that the chromolithographs have been finished by hand; in some cases by the application of the sort of varnish ("gomme" in French) and in particular the application of a bright white pigment. representing sparkling diamonds or crystals These re-touchings are so thick they can be felt under the fingers runa across the page - and give the plates an extraordinary richness, tactile as well as visual.
Each colored plate is overlaid with a leaf of translucent paper on which is printed an outline image of the coloured pieces; this was to enable the workman to trace the design without having to damage or cut the original.
These jewellery pattern plates are extraordinarily scarce we have not been able to find any record of any volumes being offered at auction during the past 100 years. Nor have we found records in any library. Henri even refers to the journal in his work "French Jewlery in the 19th Century" when he notes that Lalique contributed a number of drawings in 1883, the first year of the publication was 1874 and it appears to have ended in 1914 perhaps because of the disruption of trade by the First World War.
These twelve years are bound as shown below in sturdy leather backed green cloth
Annee 5/6 1878/9
In the year 1896 there are no coloured plates, only the tracing sheets tipped onto card leaves.
The chomolithographed plates were printed by the Paris firm of Lemercier until 1898/99 when the printing was taken over by Monrocq resulting in a slight loss of quality in the finish.
These last two years of LE BIJOU
(1898-1899) are bound with another volume of a jewellery joumal "Le Chronique de Bijou - Revue Bi-Mensuel" Pub Ch. DARRAS Oct 1897- Sept 1898 Nos 1-24 lacking the first few leaves of No 1 In this journal the text includes a description of the single shown on the main hors-text plate - a single item on a black ground - not in the same class as the plates of LE BIJOU
Each volume of 48 plates