DELAPLACE, Henri. ~ Ouvrages en cheveux idéal. Moret-sur-Loing (Seine-et-Marne, Île-de-France), 1878.
Illustrated manuscript, oblong folio (262 × 340 mm), ff. 1-27, 29-46, 48-53 (wanting ff. 28 and 47), calligraphic title plus many ink and wash diagrams and portraits, some with original mounted photographs. Some fragile margins, with some expert repair in places. Contemporary cloth backed album, the spine and corners renewed to style.
A hair artist’s album and catalogue. Henri Delaplace offers a variety of designs for tokens and memorials made from human hair (some priced) and completes his album with an illustrated history of hairdressing, suggesting he was both a hairdresser and a hair artist. A popular folk art of the 18th and 19th century, hair art was a sentimental expression of grief and love (more usually created by women). Human hair (from both the living and the recently deceased) was used to form flower bouquets, braided jewellery chains, weeping willows, and painted scenes of mourning. Sometimes incorporating photographs, these were cherished tokens to preserve the memory of a deceased loved one, chart a vibrant family tree of the living, or to be exchanged as friendship keepsakes.
There are 138 specimens on the first 33 leaves here(completed on one side only) followed by the pictorial history of hairstyles and headwear for men and women on f. 35-53 (completed on both sides), the final leaves including a 4-page history of hairdressing in France. The hairstyles include various national types (Native American, Chinese and Turkish), historical French styles, regional headwear for women and some spectacular eighteenth- and nineteenth-century women’s styles, with captions describing their components.