Book of Perfumes


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RIMMEL, Eugene. The Book of Perfumes. London: Chapman and Hall, 1865. Octavo, original blue cloth, elaborately gilt-decorated spine and cover, all edges gilt.

Third edition, published the same year as the first, with over 250 illustrations, many full-page and one in color showing Japanese hairstyles.

Rimmel, the son of a French perfumer, was "a pioneer of personal hygiene [who] developed some truly innovative products, including mouth rinses, fragranced pomades and an ingenious scented steam vaporiser, while high society flocked to his flagship perfumery in Regent Street to purchase an extensive range of exquisitely packaged perfumes, soaps and bath essences, many of them bearing royal warrants" ( He created the first nontoxic mascaras, which became so popular that "rimmel" is still the word for mascara in several languages. The successful cosmetics business his father founded in 1834 still bears the Rimmel name. "Rimmel was as much a frustrated hairdresser as a perfumer and… his elaborately illustrated Book of Perfumes, published 1865, tours the ancient civilizations and the 'uncivilized nations,' surveying the exotic hairdos and customs of perfumery in almost equal measure" (Aftel, Essence and Alchemy, 7). Cover gilt designed by William Harry Rogers, who was known for his intricate decorations. The first edition was published earlier the same year.

Scattered light foxing to plates and text, light wear to spine extremities, gilt bright. A very attractive copy.

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