Vintage Advertisement: Crown Perfumery Violet

overland monthly violet vol xxvii no 157 1896

In my art historical research, I occasionally come across perfume and cosmetics advertisements in old periodicals. I really should share some of my favorites here, since I know you’ll appreciate them!

This ad for Crown Perfumery’s Violet perfume was published in Overland Monthly magazine in 1896. I love the rendering of the packaging and bottle (which Clive Christian adapted for his own use when he purchased Crown in 1999!) and I’m intrigued by the “No chemicals used” line, since I didn’t realize that “all-natural” was being used as a fragrance marketing claim as early as the 1890s.

Just Because: Milo Violets Cigarettes, Vintage Advertisement


I’ve never smoked, and I don’t intend to start. But… if I’d been around in 1918, when this advertisement was published, I might have been tempted to try Milo Violets.

These cigarettes were “delicately scented,” with “gold tips,” perfect “for the woman of discernment.” And they apparently not only smelled lovely and enhanced a woman’s personal style, but also encouraged an enthusiasm for modern art, judging by that painting hanging behind the two women.

Quick Reads: Houbigant, Mucha, and La Rose France


I came across this beautiful advertisement from 1909, in which Houbigant used an illustration by Alfonse Mucha to promote a fragrance named La Rose France, and wondered how it came to be. Then I found this post on a blog devoted to Houbigant’s perfumes and perfume bottles, which answered all my questions and then some. Do give it a read!

(To re-read my own take on a present-day Anna Sui perfume ad that pays homage to Mucha, see here.)

Image: H-Prints.

Luncheon with…Dior?

dior dejeuner

This morning, my friend C. and I were enjoying brunch together and were looking through the Sunday Times as we ate. This advertisement for Dior made us both laugh.

It’s titled “Secret Garden 2: Versailles,” and apparently there’s some online video that we can watch to learn more. I haven’t done that yet. I’m more interested in the ad’s visual source, which has nothing to do with Versailles at all.

Continue reading “Luncheon with…Dior?”

Repeating Myself: Donna Tartt’s Next Novel, THE GOLDFINCH


Donna Tartt’s publisher has just released the cover of her forthcoming novel, The Goldfinch (scheduled for October 2013).

Bookish quotes Tartt’s editor as saying, “The cover suggests a central moment in the story, which I can’t give away here!”

If only we knew more about that cover design. Oh, wait… didn’t I post a few thoughts about the novel’s title, and a possible pictorial source, when it was first announced in February? Let’s see… right here.

And I was right!

Continue reading “Repeating Myself: Donna Tartt’s Next Novel, THE GOLDFINCH”