Monday, December 17, 2012

Swiss People and Places in Miniature

Petits Souvenirs de la Suisse

At Bromer Booksellers, we have two miniature souvenir books related to Switzerland: Petits Souvenirs de la Suisse, which contains tiny prints depicting picturesque places in Switzerland, and Costumes Suisses, which features lithographs of men and women from the different Swiss cantons in their native dress. 
Costumes Suisses

Both are presented as leporellos and were produced in the mid-1800s, right at the peak of the popularity of these types of souvenirs. Leporellos, or accordion-fold books, have a long strip of paper folded to create individual pages. The strip can then be stretched out to show a continuous view of the pages (see below). 

Souvenir books like these often contained a series of pictures of the people or landmarks of popular destinations and some were housed in novelty cases, such as a nutshell or a bean pot (for Boston views). Many of these fall into the category of miniature books as they were sized to fit in a traveler's pocket or stow away easily in luggage.

Our two examples are particularly fine because they are hand-colored; often, these souvenir albums were printed in black or sepia. They bring the people and locations to life and were a way to bring one's memories home to share with family and friends in a time before color photography.

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