Well, who knew? Right back in the day – 43BC actually – there was a famous Roman poet called Ovid. He is best known for his racy poems about his love, Corinna, known as Amores (The Loves). However, for reasons entirely unknown, he veered off at a tangent and wrote a poem about women’s cosmetics, mainly saying that women should be careful of their manners first and foremost, but then goes on to talk about facial unguents and treatments to enhance beauty. Either he was a thoroughly modern Roman or he was so obsessed with Corinna that he watched her every move, including her toilette.
Anyway, literary types get excited about Ovid, but as we know, I get excited about cosmetics. When my lovely, and longstanding friends, Ben and Bryony gave me a beautifully hand typeset and printed edition of The Art of Cosmetics by Ovid for my birthday last year, I could not have asked for a better gift. It has 40 pages, 15 wood engraving illustrations by Royal engraver, George Buday, and, more importantly, it was printed by Ben and his late father many, many years ago. There are only 525 in existence.
But, if you aren’t interested in cosmetics or their history, or where they fit in the world all those years ago, as Ben isn’t, rather unsurprisingly, then they’re not exactly what you want on your shelves. Ben is selling them off to any BBB readers interested for £10 each. If you’re interested, email me and I’ll forward on the details to you.
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