HISTORY OF PERFUME • Frances Kennett
Harrap / 1975
Hardcover / 208 pages

Perfumes have a compelling, intangible attraction: throughout history, human beings have shared an instinctive pleasure in them, and there have always been scent-makers willing to forage up roots, crush berries or leaves, boil petals in strange liquids, and seal their concotion in small phials. While there may have been a few periods when perfume was in disfavour--notably in Puritan England--the love of perfume has proved generally impervious to changing fashions, and the art of perfumery has flourished from the very beginnings of civlisation in all countries of the world. 

History of Perfume provides the most complete survey of this ancient art, and its place in society, politics and science, since Eugene Rimmel’s classic work on the subject in 1894. The author goes beyond an appreciation of the perfumes themselves into an investigation of their religious origins in the Far East; how the spice trade has made fortunes and destroyed empires; how the alchemists dabbled techniques such as distillation which were to have a refining influence on the art; and why all people, whatever their time race or creed, have found fascination in culling sweet-smelling flowers and herbs to decorate their bodies, their altars, and their graves. The book surveys these themes in the Acient and Classical worlds, the Orient, Medieval and Renaissace Europe, up to the foundation of today’s famous perfume Houses, particularly in Paris. 

︎Condition note: A used book in Good condition / bumping to corners and edges of book / edgewear and light chipping to dustjacket / rubbing to front and back cover / some tanning to pages / binding is good / interior pages are clean and free of any markings or underlinings