Sunday, May 1, 2011

The dominant position of an mediocre book. The Perfect Dyer part two.

A few weeks ago the mailman brought a package that would complete my solitary standing second volume. To be precise: now that I finally got a copy of Delormois' Nouveau teinturier parfait' (1769), I have been able to read it in full.
And that includes the preface. Beside its state of the 18th century art recipes it is interesting to note how the booklets advertise themselves.
The name is already a nod to the standard guidebook of the time, the Teinturier parfait, but it comes clear from the text that it is not meant to replace, but to supplement. As a example, page 9 of the foreword mentions that the frequent use of vermillion (kermes) in the earlier book is totally replaced by cochenille. No wonder: most recipes from the Teinturier date from around 1650. It also explains the focus on 'special' colours (jujube, belette, ardoise - a deep granite grey bordering on lilac - ), as the regular reds green and blues had already had their part in the previous manual.
Surely, Delormois (anonymous still in this edition) had some harsh critique on his predecessor, but admits that the book is 'assez bon pour ce qui concerne l'accessoire de la teinture & qu'il s'en fait plusieurs editions'.
Especially the ardoise interests me at the moment: more on that in a later post.