The traditional costumes of 19th century Hungary

Prónay, Gábor. Skizzen aus dem Volksleben in Ungarn.

Budapest, Hermann Geibel, 1855.

Folio (300 x 415 mm). 106, (2) pp. With wood-engraved title-vignette and 25 chromolithographed plates with tissue guards. Contemporary red pebbled cloth titled, ruled in gilt. All edges gilt.


First German edition, following the Hungarian one ("Vázlatok magyarhon népéletéböl") published the same year: a work extremely important for its accurate depiction of the people of Hungary, and of their activities and traditional costume, in the early 19th century. Considered one of the finest examples of visual folk history of the region, each of the twenty-five monumental chromolithograph plates show colourful, detailed scenes of traditional clothing, festivals, and employment captioned in German, Hungarian, and French. Depicted on the plates are weddings and children in religious processions, a family of "wandering Gypsies" active as tinkers and salespeople, cowherds and two landowners surveying a monumental grain harvest, a shepherd in an embroidered, fur-lined cloak, and men fishing in the river Tisza, once known as the "most Hungarian" of all rivers. One plate which shows the costumes of peasants, labels four sets of male and female couples as Vlachs, Hungarians, Slavs, and Germans, respectively, and is a particularly interesting record of traditional dress.

Due to the technical limitations of printing such large volume with very high-quality plates on the Hungarian presses of the time, the book itself was printed by Giesecke & Devrient in Leipzig, and the lithographs by Institut von Arnz & Comp. in Düsseldorf. The author of the work, Baron Gabriel (Gábor) von Prónay (1812-75), was born in Besztercebánya (Neusohl, now Banská Bystrica in Slovakia), the grandson of the statesman Gabriel Prónay (1748-1811), famous for his scholarly achievements. The younger Prónay became a notary and then a politician, and was particularly interested in advancing the voice of Hungary in Berlin.


With only a touch of exterior wear; in very good condition.


Colas 2430. Lipperheide 896. Bobins 444.