Thursday, 13 January 2011

The Ladies (in the) Library

This is one of my favourite illustrations to Haywood's La Belle Assemblee (i.e., Ab.16 BA). It is the frontispiece to volume three, which was first published in 1731.

This is the frontispiece to The Ladies Library, Vol. I. Written by a Lady. Published by Sir Richard. Steele, 3rd ed. (London: Jacob Tonson, 1722). It is a re-cutting of the same frontispiece illustration from the first edition of 1714—seventeen years before it was used in BA.

See any similarities? Other than the fact that they are practically identical?


When I was compiling my (endless) entry for BA it did occur to me to wonder whether the illustrations to Haywood's BA were taken from the French work that it is a (partial) translation of, but I had too many other things to check to find out. I still haven't found out. One day I will buy a copy of Madeleine Angélique Poisson de Gomez’s Les Journées Amusantes (Paris: G. Saugrain, 1722–31) and compare them. Meanwhile, I think I have established where this illustration comes from.

[UPDATE: 2 July 2016: After all my pictures disappeared again I decided to give up on external hosts for large versions (1000px) of my image files and, for now on, will stick with the smaller images (500px), which Blogger is prepared to host.]

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