Art de Confectionner Les Fleurs Artificielles

Dublin Core

Title

Art de Confectionner Les Fleurs Artificielles

Creator

Mme Bl.*** (Mme Blocquel)

Publisher

Paris: Delarue

Date

c. 1880

Caxton Club Member Contributions Item Type Metadata

Brief Notes on Book

Copy with original printed blue-paper pictorial wrappers.

Essay

Artificial Flower Makers and Women Entrepreneurs

As a Brown University undergraduate, I curated a small exhibition about the history of artificial flowers at the John D. Rockefeller Library. It was inspired by Professor Richard Fishman, who had recently bought at auction the remains of Calart, a Providence-area crepe paper flower-making company. I soon encountered one of the foundational how-to handbooks on flower making at the Library of Congress, written by a mysterious Frenchwoman, one Mme B.***. This was a c. 1850 edition of the Art de Confectionner les Fleurs Artificielles, which she dedicated "aux Dames," her presumed main audience. That particular copy had a pressed flower in it, somewhat unexpectedly a real one! I of course had to include the book in my exhibition, but while I could borrow a volume of Diderot from the John Hay Library, there wasn’t a Madame Blocquel to be had in Rhode Island. Luckily, I was able to secure a nouvelle édition, c. 1880 myself, though this exemplar included no plant specimens. Like many similar handbooks of the same era, the book both contained descriptions of flower symbolism and functional plates outlining the shapes of petals and leaves for their construction. Other plates showed the completed flowers in carefully arranged bouquets. An unpaginated section at the end even advertised the tools and materials flower makers would need. Gradually acquiring other books on this topic, I was able to convince the Stillwell Prize judges of its bibliographical coherence as a collection by my senior year.

Contributor

Suzanne Karr Schmidt

Files

Mme Bl.jpg

Citation

Mme Bl.*** (Mme Blocquel), “Art de Confectionner Les Fleurs Artificielles,” Caxton Club Exhibits, accessed October 19, 2021, https://caxtonclub.omeka.net/items/show/31.