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Antique Fashion & Costume Plates
Part 9 - La Mode Illustrée Reproduction Prints
Fashion History

By Pauline Weston Thomas for


Antique Fashion & Costume Plates - Part 9
La Mode Illustrée Reprints

Assessing a Genuine Fashion Plate Part B

You will have seen a genuine antique La Mode Illustrée fashion plate on the previous page.

These eight La Mode Illustrée late Victorian fashion plates below are reproduction prints and belong to me by choice.  They were bought some time ago from an eBay seller.  The seller who sold these to me stated honestly in her sales spiel that they were early 1950s reproductions of La Mode Illustrée, possibly long stored overruns/seconds.  In no way did she ever suggest they were antique fashion plates. 

I cannot recall the exact price, but I know I paid £12.50 for the eight and was very happy with my purchase.  The fact that they were not originals in this case did not matter to me, as I deliberately bought them to add colour to the website.  So these are not antiques and I will point out the little differences below using these prints as examples. 

All thumbnails enlarge to A4 size.

Left - 2 La Mode Illustrée 1950's Reprints of 1860's Plates

Reproduction Fashion Plate from La Mode Illustrée. Artist Anaïs Toudouze Reproduction Fashion Plate from La Mode Illustrée. Artist Anaïs Toudouze Reproduction Fashion Plate from La Mode Illustrée. Artist Anaïs Toudouze Reproduction Fashion Plate from La Mode Illustrée. Artist Anaïs Toudouze

Right - 2 La Mode Illustrée 1950's Reprints of 1870's

Above Reprinted Fashion Plates of La Mode Illustrée - Artist Anaïs Toudouze

The two fashion reprints from the 1860s era directly left, are the most charming from this set.  Then the two early tabard polonaise bustle styles on the right of 1870s designs are the pair of fashion prints that a lot of people seem to wish to sell!  For some reason I have seen these two fashion plates to the right traded most frequently and of the set of 8 I think they are the least attractive. So must other sellers by the number of times they appear in sales.

The one on the left has very crude floral fabric colouration and the blue of the dress is super intense and garish and this may well fit in with the introduction of aniline dyes, but the execution lacks something. The last is just a dull combination of colours compared to more pretty pretty fashion plates. These 4 images crop up on the internet time and again.  The problem is many of their owners or their parents have had them 40 years or more, so convince themselves the reprints are old enough to be antiques.

Tell tale signs are the perfectly symmetrical sheets of paper they are printed on.  Authentic fashion plates are often on comparatively fragile paper not much thicker that the sort of quality paper you might use in a laser printer. One spine edge is likely to be rough. These reproduction prints are printed on heavier evenly ecru toned watercolour type paper.  But the other antique Mode Illustrée plates I own are on smooth paper, delicate colour application and they have real age marks or foxing

According to one art and antique forum these 1950s reprints have a low resale commercial value of between £5 and $35 dependant on condition.  I can tell you from my research there are a lot of these particular prints about - far more than would have realistically survived 100 years in my opinion.

To many these prints look authentic, but bear in my mind though that if this particular clutch of reproductions was printed in the 1950s then at 50+ years these really are vintage prints.  Just be aware this particular 8 are not the original version of the prints. 

But they still make a pretty picture!  So you pay your money and make your choice.


La Mode Illustrée Reproduction Prints - 1870s

Reproduced Fashion Plates for La Mode Illustrée - Artist Anaïs Toudouze

Reproduction Fashion Plate from La Mode Illustrée. Artist Anaïs Toudouze Mode Illustree Reprint Reproduction Fashion Plate from La Mode Illustrée. Artist Anaïs Toudouze Reproduction Fashion Plate from La Mode Illustrée. Artist Anaïs Toudouze

The original colour in these fashion plates is far cruder and I have lightened them for my purposes on the site.  But the overall images are very chocolate box pretty and I like them as they are ultra feminine even though they are totally impractical fashion wear.

There were many printing marks that I have cleaned up too and each print bears a tiny printers trademark logo.  I say buyer beware.  If you like a fashion plate print and it is a 50 year old reproduction or a modern reproduction that is perfectly fine.  But please do not try to sell them as antiques or buy them believing they are true antiques. 

Colour Printing and Trademark Stamps.

Flooded inks

The printing on these 1950s reprints is very crude compared to the image of the same era on the previous page. Look at the printing overlap on this hand above here - the colour has really flooded far more than it should have.  Good overprinting avoids this.


The prints have this impression information on them plus a number below 10.  Above this is a circular logo stamp with SZL printed in blue. This is the second printer signature and circular logo trademark.

Although I was personally pleased with this low cost purchase I do feel annoyed that some sellers are passing these same images off as antiques. 

Buy them for what they are - reproduction prints. But please DO NOT write to me asking for valuation advice on them as none will be given - I will be unable to help you.


Other Reprints - Dover Books and Reprinted Fashion plates

There are many Dover fashion Plate books covering various eras.  The plates in the Dover books are printed on good quality opaque paper that Dover state does not become Brittle or discolour with age and show through is minimal.   Be aware the colours are not as soft as on original antique plates and the paper surface is glossy. They are though perfect for all sorts of projects including framing and decoupage and are a boon to students of costume, dramatic productions and re-enactors. 

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©Copyright 2005-2011
These images should not be reproduced in printed book form matter, as greetings cards, gift wrap etc., or as part of any electronic material such as a CD, DVD, TV videos, ebooks, websites or similar item. 

Please DO NOT write to me asking for advice on your fashion plate as NONE can be given.

This Fashion Plates Page Added 8 Oct 2005

For more about Fashion Plates
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Some images in this section are courtesy of eBay seller Cabrio4

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