Smell like Nineteenth spirit

Palazzo Madama

 Stories from a Turinese perfumery in the nineteenth century

The labels collection
"It's, most of all, tasty and the taste is that of old stuff that, when we see them at first sight, one by one, among other knick-knack, we do not pay attention at them, but then, globally seen, they take a physiognomy and a nature which give their a singular attraction" (Vittorio Viale)  After 65 years, the artifacts that the Director of Museo Civico di Torino talks about, come back to people. Eighty-four labels for personal-use products (oils, creams, soaps, perfumes), sold in 1935 by Nicola Perrone's firm, open to public from 1804 in via S. Massimo 12.
Born in Turin during the second half of the 18th century, Nicola Perrone becomes a manufacturer in the perfumery of S.S.R.M. and opens his own parlor in Contrada S. Pelagia, door n. 2, on the ground floor, Casa Guarenne (Turin) in 1804. We read of him in a branch engraved by Arghinenti in the first years of the 19th century: 《He sells lotions, precious soap bars, ancient oils, Cologne, perfumed water, essences of every kind and other objects made in the same shop at a fair prize》. Another mention to his name is found in the Gazzetta piemontese of the year 1849 in which he is described as "the only major manufacturer of the White Lotion", hence the producer of the much appreciated cream to make hair grow. There is also news of him in the “Patente del Profumiere” of July 1853.

Nicola Perrone was a great manager. Lot of the labels was bought in France and then used on products made by Perrone. Images depicted on the labels hint at something that goes beyond romance :)

Perrone produced also men cosmetics. These two labels depict two famous men of the time: Napoleon the First, called "the Great Man" and his son.

The label representing Marie Charlotte Thérèse Albert, popular french actress in 1800 also known as Madame Albert, has been chosen as main image for the exhibition.
Born in Toulouse in 1805, she took up an important career in comedy performing mostly in Paris at Théâtre du Vaudeville.
She died in Chartres in 1860.
Probably she was an inspiration for women of the time who aimed for such model of success and ...charme!

In Perrone's "marketing strategy", target audience of most of the products are young women searching for - as Jane Austen would put it - "a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."

In the same series, there are even labels leaning toward sensuality...a delicate hint to some different pleasure :)

The Zodiac labels
The 12 signs of the zodiac also provided inspiration for labels. Starting from Aries, sign corresponding to the spring equinox, all the way to Pisces, the last zodiac sign. Each sign represents a constellation. At the time the zodiac was an instrument used by men to feel closer to the gods, sharing emotions, feelings and passions. That’s why the cosmetics companies embellished their labels with such imageries, creating a deeper bond with the costumer.
Between 1830 and 1840, female fashion contemplated long dresses with large skirts, corsets and voluminous sleeves. Particular importance was given to elaborated and extravagant hairstyles, with elegant buns and curls falling down on the shoulders. Ornaments were characterized by ribbons and flowers. These were linked to Perrone's style choices on his labels. Perfumes adopt the flavors of the flowers, pictured on the ladies' heads. The use of many hats with big brims decorated with feathers was still essential for a woman of the time, as we can see on the headgear of the labels. 

"Look here, I have bought this bonnet. I do not think it is very pretty; but I thought I might as well buy it as not. I shall pull it to pieces as soon as I get home, and see if I can make it up any better." Lydia Bennet, Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)

“A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.”
― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Natural oils and flowers
As much as in modern days, the trend for "bio product" was already on at the time. A lot of Perrone's cosmetics were made with flowers and plants well-known for their cosmetic properties.

Tuberose is known as an aphrodisiac, deodorant, relaxing, sedative, and warming substance

Traditionally used for soothing and skin treatments, violet has also cleansing properties. Violet is also beloved for the delicate scent.

The orange flower is traditionally associated with weddings.

The health benefits of Jasmine Essential Oil can be attributed to its properties as an antidepressant, antiseptic, aphrodisiac, antispasmodic, cicatrisant, expectorant, galactogogue, emmenagogue, parturient, sedative and uterine substance.

Garden heliotrope is used for perfumery. The scent is said to help fight fatigue.

Credits: Story

La mostra è stata realizzata a Palazzo Madama nell'ambito della Summer School promossa in collaborazione con la Consulta per la Valorizzazione dei Beni artistici e Culturali di Torino. La mostra è a cura degli studenti Rosa Basilicata, Matteo Benetti, Amedeo Calosso, Alberto Coni Ester Cravero, Carlotta Faioni, Edoardo Giacardi, Marcello Ghigo, Erica Lonardi, Alessandro Monichino, Jacopo Odetto, Davide Recano, Alessia Robert, Giulia Stefanucci, Giulia Vallosio, Lorenzo Viberti, Carola Vigilante. (Istituto Tecnico del Turismo C.I. Giulio, Liceo Valsalice di Torino e Istituto Maria Immacolata di Pinerolo)

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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