Costume capitals


Another gem of a find at the Internet Archive, Le costume, les armes, les bijoux, la céramique, les ustensiles, outils, objets mobiliers, etc. : chez les peuples anciens et modernes (1896) is a lavish two-volume (?) guide to the costumes, artefacts, weapons, etc of various races through the ages. The books were compiled and illustrated by Friedrich Hottenroth (1840–1917) and comprise many detailed coloured plates, but what really caught my attention were the elaborate illuminated capitals used for each of the introductory essays. The common approach in 19th century books is to either have decoration that bears little relation to the content or to apply a single decorative style throughout the book. What’s notable about these designs is the way the style of each letter matches the decorative style of the race or civilisation under discussion. In addition to this feature they’re quite beautifully rendered. The FH initials indicate that they were all Hottenroth’s work. Volume 2 of the set can be found here.




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