Printed by J. Bell 1806.
La Belle Assemblée, or, Bell’s Court and Fashionable Magazine
Addressed particularly to the Ladies
Volume 1 in two parts; 1 February to 31 July 1806, and 2 August to 31 December 1806
Published by John Bell, Southampton Street, Strand 1806
614pp plus Supplement (iv + 64pp)
Part 1 with 16 mono plates (6 being fold-out music plates); Part 2 with 15 hand coloured plates (portrait and fashion plates plus music, patterns and fold-out map at rear)
Condition: Part 1 has been rebound in calf over new marbled boards; Part 2 has new calf spine over original marbled boards. Part 1 has had the block edges trimmed with the music plates bound in. Part 2 retains the original untrimmed page edges. As a result Part 1 is now slightly smaller at 91/4 ins x 6 ins than Part 2 at 10 ins by 61/4 ins.
Wear and some rubbing and staining to bindings (heavy to Part 2), some misfolding and creasing to plates and several torn pages. Internally, minor foxing and some marking and staining to pages. Overall condition good for age with colour plates bright and clean.
La Belle Assemblée, or Bell’s Court and Fashionable Magazine was a ladies’ magazine published between 1806-1837, founded by John Bell. The magazine included fashion plates and patterns, celebrity profiles, sheet music, poetry, fiction, news items and some scientific articles. Initially the fashion plates and celebrity portraits were not coloured, but from November 1806 there was a regular edition with hand coloured plates illustrating outfits worn by ladies of rank as well as latest styles. This is a rare complete set of the magazine from the first year of publication giving a fascinating glimpse of social mores and fashions at the beginning of the 19th century – in a format almost a cross between Hello! and a broadsheet Sunday magazine.