mercredi 17 décembre 2008

Gold embroidery from the old Russia

I was publishing this post on my other blog "Sur les pas d'une collection". It can have some interest for you as the nice embroidery is coming from the old Russia dating probably from the XVIIe century.

Broderies russes à haut relief, fin XVIIe siècle.
© Collection privée BROCARD II.

Bien avant mon enthousiasme pour les tableaux, je collectionnais quelques étoffes anciennes. Des origines familiales du côté de l'ancienne Russie, m'invitèrent vers ces carrés de soie précieux brodés de fils d'or ou d'argent, au coeur de l'Empire des Tsars.

De la fin du XVIe siècle au XIXe, ils témoignent d'un raffinement et d'une maîtrise du tissage dans ces pays de l'Est, remontant à une haute antiquité.

"
La broderie d'or russe est caractérisée par la perfection de sa composition : toutes les représentations s'équilibrent réciproquement dans le plan et restent bien proportionnées, leurs contours sont soumis à un certain rythme intérieur et même l'espace non recouvert par la broderie garde le caractère d'un dessin ornemental. La composition reflétée dans un miroir avec une construction symétrique du dessin par rapport à un axe central vertical est caractéristique de la broderie d'or de la fin du XVIème et du début du XVIIème siècle. Le "peintre en chef" de ces temps ne se pose pas de problèmes de peinture, mais en revanche il est passionné par la recherche du rythme et la distribution des messes dans le plan. La particularité des couleurs de cette broderie constitue un mélange contrastant de l'or et de l'argent sur un fond foncé (de préférence noir ou rouge), ce qui donne à la broderie un aspect solennel."

"Pour la broderie ornementale de la deuxième moitié du XVIIème siècle, les dessins somptueux sont caractéristiques. De cette époque date une composition comportant, au centre, un motif fondamental doté symétriquement, des deux côtés, d'éléments complémentaires. Le plus souvent, il s'agit d'une grande fleur stylisée, richement élaborée, de laquelle partent des rameaux sinueux garnis de feuilles ou de fruits. De telles compositions rappellent, par leurs proportions et leur caractère, l'ornement des vignettes des incunables de l'ancien Moscou". * cf. sources en bas de page.

Dans ces étoffes se conjuguent des éléments totalement opposés, comme la douceur de la soie et la dureté du métal, qui est presque effacée dans un fil précieux.

Broderies russes à haut relief, fin XVIIe siècle.
© Collection privée BROCARD II.

Les velours brodés de fils d'or ci-dessus composaient les éléments de parures de mariage pour l'épouse dans l'esprit des scapulaires. Ils furent réutilisés ici dans la confection du pourtour d'un large coussin unique et rare. Celui-ci aurait pu orner le canapé d'un salon de l'ancienne famille Brocard à Moscou, ou un siège de leur musée.

De nombreux symboles chrétiens y figurent, comme un calice, un épi de blé, des grappes de raisin, le tout avec grâce et foisonnement. Le tissage de l'or aurait pu être identique d'un élément à l'autre. La créativité du tisserant s'exprime dans le moindre motif, avec ici quelques zig-zag savamment disposés, ou des lignes parallèles. Tout cela ajoute un effet de mouvement et de bruissement, comme si la vie reprenait sur ce velours, accentuée par le chatoiement du métal.

Dorure, velours rouge... Ces codes couleurs nous rapprochent de Noël et m'invite à vous souhaiter de bonnes fêtes de fin d'année. J'aimerais aussi vous remercier pour vos visites sur ce petit espace de partage et d'échange sur les pas d'une collection. RDV en 2009 ou peut-être un peu avant.

(*) Source : "La broderie et la dentelle russes", L. Yefimova et R. Belogorskaïa, Office du Livre, Editions Vilo, Paris, 1982 pour la version russe, 1986 pour la version française. Et ce site bien documenté.

jeudi 11 décembre 2008

Rarety of the soap formula Mai Fleuri from Brocard perfume

Formula of soap "Mai Fleuri". About 1902.
© Family Brocard.
Usage of the image under authorization


I was presenting last year the soap "Mai Embaumé" from Brocard perfume industry. Today I was looking for the ingredients used for this formula, but unfortunately I did not get the same soap. Probably something which is closed to "Mai Embaumé", and can give you an idea of the bouquet of it with the components of the soap "Mai Fleuri".

That's really a rarety to found today a full formula of a perfume or soap dating from one century ago. The Brocard industry created by Henri Brocard in 1864 within Moscow, based its first years of business on the soap market. It was a revolution in Russia at this time, as Brocard thanks to very low price for the soap, contributed to democratize it within the whole Russian Empire.

Henry Brocard started his fortune with this basic products, introducing marketing mid of the XIXe century, offering within the package some drawings, developing special boxes for soap, and enriching the smell of them with more than 50 different formulas : Mai Fleuri, Heliotrop, Lilas, Musc, Russian Leather, etc.
Later, he was developping the true perfume industry in Russia, becoming the largest company in the World in 1913 (new book on "history of the beauty" in preparation for 2009 by the Harvard university).

Discovery of the old perfume "Royal Flush" from Brocard

My last update of the blog was months ago. But I did not forget you. In the meantime I have been maitaining my main blog about "Sur les pas d'une collection". There I decided to baptize my modest collection of Aboriginal art painting. I was not an easy choice, but finaly, remembering the great art's collection of Henry Brocard in Moscow, I decided to give the name of "collection privée BROCARD II". A symbol, a memory of the past, and also a strong link with my own private history.

Perfume Royal Flush from BROCARD
About 1920, Paris
© Family Brocard.
Usage of the image under authorization


Clearly I will never compete with Henry Brocard in terms of collection. I have not the same resources. But that's really for me an invitation to develop a collection stressing one of the oldest nomad population on the planet, as the Aboriginal people of Australia.

Today, I would like to present to you, a small wonderful perfume bottle from the end of the Brocard perfume industry : "Royal Flush" prepared in Paris around 1920.
One of the best experience when you are discovering an old bottle of perfume, is to smell around the neck of it. And when you are able to open the bottle and to discover the real fragrance as this one, you are experimenting a great great moment in your life. Which is compensating the frustration I had months ago in front of this larger bottle of Royal Flush presented on the blog there.

I did not find this perfume recipe in potential archive. What a pity as I am not a nose, able to identify the complexity of the ingredients inside. But beleive me I am dreaming about... this perfume for women coming from the past.

mardi 13 mai 2008

A therapeutic cosmetic from Brocard in art nouveau style


A nice advertizing from Brocard about a therapeutic cosmetic, in a style of "art nouveau", which was in the course a century ago.
I found this image from this web site. It seems that those products did not be inferior to a quantity of "present" medicines. The text in Russian can give us more informations about the comparaisons related to "institutes of beauty".

Old soap advertizing from Brocard perfume industry

© Family Brocard.
Usage of the image under authorization

Two old advertizing from Brocard about probably the "national soap".
Henry Brocard contributed introduced an hygienic revolution in Russia with one soap for one kopeck. Before that period, soap and beauty stuff were too expensive for the whole population in the empire.
© Family Brocard.
Usage of the image under authorization

Brocard sold millions of soap in the old Russia, developping the history of the "national soap".
This first successfull experience encouraged Henry Brocard to diversify the soap's offer with more sophisticated formulas including glycerine, Mai fleuri, concombre, amber...

mardi 11 mars 2008

A great Russian embriodery from the Brocard collection

© Family Brocard.
Usage of the image under authorization

I would like to share with you this nice embroidery, collected by the Brocard family probably around 1870 in Russia. The Brocard's marketing was really impacting the culture of embroidery making in Russia by inserying in each packaging new enthousiatic design patterns.

All families were trying to produce those designs into the private producting durably influencing the creativity in this kind a hand made art in the whole old Russian Empire.

This exemple is really characteristic with a great mix of white cotton and colored silk and symbolic myths around birds, othodox church, and men trying to convert other to the religion.
This nice and rare work was probably sed into a church. Although its age, this piece of embroidery is really in great condition, emphazing the large perimeter of what Henri Brocard was collecting at this time, from the flemish primitive paintings to the old russian traditionnal objects and memories.

jeudi 6 mars 2008

The Brocard's windmill in Moscow about 1890

© Family Brocard & Roure

The Brocard family in Mosow about 1890, with at the center Henri and Charlotte Brocard, founders of the Brocard industry and great inventor of Perfume in the Russian Empire.
We can also recognize Eugénie Brocard and Georges Félix Ferrand, who were also working into the company. Eugénie tried after the Russian revolution to relaunch the Brocard perfume industry in France at Saint Brice la Forêt, but a terrible fire destroyed their dreams.

Their daughter Henriette Ferrand is also visible closed to her father. Henriette will be married to Jean Roure in France, who will inherit a part of the Roure perfume industry in essential oils and absoluts.

Others members of the Family are gathered on the picture as Auguste Ferrand and his wife, the related Giraud family, and other Brocard's children as Alexandre and Emile who will work in the perfume industry. Alexandre, especially will continue to ensure the direction of the company after the Russian revolution until 1920 or 1922.
Three wet-nurse are also on the photography with the younger members of the family. You can recognize them with something which is looking like a diadem on their hairs.

This windmill, probably only decorative was at the end of the Brocard property in Moscow, closed to the plant.

mardi 26 février 2008

Old Russian embroidery mixing silk and cotton

© Family Brocard.
Usage of the image under authorization

This embroidery is a mix of cotton and silk designing in blue and red, a nice clothe for a small girl. We can estimate that it was produced at the end of the XIXe century or at the early XXe.

The region of origin is very difficult to specify without a specific expertize on the subject.
But I am expecting some reactions and potential advice from the nice Blog of Eugene Baryshnikov, "Ethnography of Belarus".

I will try to share information each month on the Brocard's blog. See you soon.

lundi 14 janvier 2008

Happy new year with a nice Russian Art deco picture


A nice invitation from the old Russia looks like a print version of the Art Deco period. But regarding the year 1903, we need probably to connect it more to the Art Nouveau time.
I like the design of it, the marvelous architecture of the house behind, as the police used with a nice mix of grey, silver, green and brown.

Even if I am not re-opening the blog now, I would like to seize the opportunity to wish you an happy new year, inviting you to have a look on my another blog about some collections and especially in the last posts about some "aquarelles" from the conquest of Algeria in 1830.