Remember the needlework Eye-Spy puzzle that I posted for Christmas just … oh, less than a month ago? (Why does it seem like this Christmas is already two years ago?!)
Well, I had several inquiries about different parts of the image, and a few of those inquiries focused on the small book in the upper right hand corner of the picture.
This is a great little book on so many levels. This particular volume was sent to me as a gift from a reader. She knew I’d love it, not just for the contents, but for the book itself.
And I do!
This lovely little book is “on display” in the studio in one of the cubby shelves that divide the front part (classroom / work area) of the studio from the back part (shelving, storage, and shipping) of the studio. (You can see the cubbies here, if you’re curious.)
I use about half of the cubbies on the cubby wall as functional storage of working tools, threads, books, and so forth, and the other half to display decorative bits and bobs. Occasionally, we play with the cubbies and re-arrange them – maybe rotating in new color with new seasons and so forth.
Not only is this edition of Therese de Dillmont’s Encyclopedia of Needlework (in fact, the title is Encylcopédia des Ouvrages de Dames, or Encyclopedia of Ladies’ Work) a trove of useful needlework information, but it is, in its own right, a beautiful little volume.
There is no publishing date in the book. Though it is a somewhat early edition, it is a late enough edition that the “Editor’s Note” at the beginning asserts (this is my translation) that “the Encyclopedia of Ladies’ Work has become the foundation book of any women’s library and its success has exceeded all expectations. Numerous and important editions have been produced, translations have been made into the main languages and printings have reached several hundred thousand copies. During the Chicago World’s Fair, the Encyclopedia was among the forty volumes of French women’s literature deemed most useful for the education of women…”
So, we know this edition was published after 1893 (when the Columbian Exposition, or Chicago’s World Fair) took place, but probably not too long after, since this edition references the notoriety of the book at the Columbian Exposition and uses that as the encouragement for publishing this particular new edition.
The volume is such a beautiful book in its whole structure. It is small and chunky – 5.5″ tall by 3.75″ wide, and slightly over 1.5″ thick. It has a green linen-like board cover and gleaming gilded page ends.
It looks like a treasured volume of important literature.
And it is!
The book is in French, which was the original language of the Encyclopedia.
The print is quite small and compact, and the “plates” or diagrams and illustrations are all very clear.
This edition of the little book is definitely one of my favorite books ever! I love it!
The Encyclopedia Online
If you are interested in perusing the Encyclopedia, you can find it available online through Project Gutenberg. I wrote about it and linked to it here, ages ago.
If you’re looking for other works of Therese de Dillmont, use the search feature on Antique Pattern Library and search “Therese Dillmont” – you’ll find an extensive list of her books available there.
Happy Monday to all! I hope your week is off to a great start!