London: Cassell, 1893. First London edition, second printing. First printed in 1892. A New York edition with a different translator was also published in 1892. The original French version was published as Le Cabinet de toilette in 1891. Spine a bit darkened. Some rubbing to extremities. Spine slightly cocked. Ads also printed on endpapers. Minor marginal toning; still quite clean. A few contemporary pencil notations in margins and pencil markings on fore-edge. A very good copy. Publisher’s lavender cloth with dark purple floral pattern. Gilt title on spine. [20, ads], 366, [2, ads] pp. Item #16859
The Lady’s Dressing-Room is a beauty, personal care, and home decor handbook. The author takes a particular interest in perfumes, for which she provides recipes (pp. 314-328), and expresses a belief “that a refined woman should be identified with a signature fragrance, which should permeate all her clothes and possessions. The resultant perfume aura appears almost as an emanation of woman’s essential femininity,” (Maxwell, p. 34). The work also includes advice on the aesthetics of bathrooms, bedrooms, and dressing rooms, which the author sees as the “rooms on which a woman stamps her special mark, which seem to reflect her both morally and physically,” (p. 11).
Blanche-Augustine-Angèle Sayer (1845 – 1911), who used the pseudonym “Baroness Staffe” after the maiden name of her grandmother, was a French nonfiction writer and diarist who published nearly twenty etiquette manuals for women. She also wrote on fashion and culture for periodicals like the La Revue illustrée, Paris-Mode, Paris-Province, and La Nouvelle revue. Maxwell, Catherine. Scents and Sensibility: Perfume in Victorian Literary Culture (2017).