May 252015

On one of my perambulations through the Museum of London’s on-line collection of prints I came across a series of fashion plates from the 1780’s through to the turn of the century  showing ladies head gear, on a year-by-year basis. Some of them are so wonderful as to defy description, others are so atrocious that I am not sure which is the front view and which the back.  They are however worthy of being repeated just so that one has the right image in the mind’s eye when considering what it was like to be truly fashionable or a la mode in the latter years of the 18th Century. For my money, I would go with 1786 any day….

Here goes (with thanks to the Museum of London website):

Fashions for 1784

Fashions for 1784

Fashions for 1782

Fashions for 1782











Fashions for 1786

Fashions for 1786 Fashions for 1790

Fashions for 1790

Fashions for 1794

Fashions for 1794

 Fashion for 1796

Fashion for 1796


Fashions for 1798

Fashions for 1798

and to end with, the very different styles in the new century:

Fashions of 1806

Fashions of 1806

Apr 172015

awawIn my recent blog-post I gave examples of how my ancestor Richard Hall kept an aide memoire listing words which were pronounced differently from the way they might otherwise be expected to be pronounced – and one such word was ‘toilet’. My ancestor made sure that he remembered to call it ‘twaylet’ – or even ‘twilight’, in recognition of the word’s French origin. And of course it had nothing at all to do with going to the loo. Your toilet was an important part of the way you presented yourself to the world – how you dressed and powdered your wig, how you put on your make up, and so on.

aqaqaqSo I thought I would have a look at James Gillray’s print, published by his ‘other half’ Hannah Humphrey in 1810. It is called ‘Progress of the Toilet – The Stays’ and is interesting because of the detail it shows of a lady’s dressing room. Note the  heavy gold-edged red drapes in front of the window, lined with tassels. There is a patterned carpet, the walls are covered with eau de nil wall-paper  and a  small hanging book-case has curtained glass doors. There is a picture of a woman walking across a landscape, with a cloak draping her shoulders, inscribed ‘Morning’. The furniture is rich and delicate – a console table in the background supports a jug of roses; there is a matching trio of chairs, the one in the foreground supporting two blue boxes presumably containing toilet perquisites. The dressing table appears to be swathed in material – who says that it was the Victorians who first covered the legs of their tables? In the foreground Gillray shows a jug and ewer, essential to  a quick wash of the face before the make-up is applied, and the top of the dressing table has an interesting array of goodies, from perfume bottles marked ‘Milk of Roses’ and ‘Esprit de Lavande’ to a mask used at a masquerade, a rosary, and a pin-cushion. There is a ticket to a masquerade in Argyll Street, which was a fashionable area for professionals such as architects and prominent doctors, leading off Oxford Street. A lap dog admires its reflection in the swing mirror which sits atop the table.

The two people in the picture consist of the maid and her mistress, who is being helped into her pair of stays. M’lady is sporting a fine pair of white knickerbockers, and wears a pair of silk stockings embroidered with delicate ‘clocks’ which my hosier-ancestor would have been proud of. She is holding a wooden ‘ruler’ * down her front while the maid tightens the lacing up the back of the stays. Presumably the ruler was intended to make sure the lacing was tightened evenly, to give the best silhouette, while ensuring that a sufficient decolletage is left on display. After all, if you had it, why not flaunt it? Half a boob is reflected in the mirror…The stays themselves are long – level with the base of M’lady’s posterior. Both women wear boudoir caps.

The print appears courtesy of the Lewis Walpole site here and is one of a number of similar depictions of a maidservant lacing up a pair of stays.

aqawaqawA rather more political comment was made by Gillray in 1793 with his ‘Fashion before ease – or – a good constitution sacrificed, for a fantastick form.’ It shows the political activist and reformer Thomas Paine (as in ‘Rights of Man’), red-faced and wearing a tri-colour cockade on his bonnet rouge. He sports the blue and buff favoured by the Whig supporters of Charles James Fox (they had adopted it because it was the colour of the uniforms in Washington’s army – a colour combination which therefore became associated with rebellion and constitutional change). The sign on the corner of the thatched cottage behind Paine reads: ‘Thomas Pain, Stay-maker from Thetford. Paris Modes, by express.’ The words ‘Rights of Man’ appear from a ribbon hanging from Paine’s back pocket, and he seems to be grimly determined to force Britannia into the shape (ie constitution) he is seeking to impose on her. Gillray is stating that Paine’s views are those of the French revolutionaries, and do not fit this side of the Channel. Indeed Britannia looks somewhat uncomfortable, as Paine puts his boot into it, as she braces herself against an oak tree. On the ground lies her spear and an olive branch, and her ornate shield rests against the side of the tree.

The print came out on 2 January 1793, less than three weeks before Louis XVI was dragged off to the guillotine, and only a month before France declared war on Great Britain and the Dutch Republic. As with the first set of stays, the print was published by Hannah Humphreys and likewise is on the Lewis Walpole site, shown here.


*My thanks to Isobel Carr for pointing out that the ‘ruler’ is in fact a busk, a normal part of all corsets. I learn something new every day…


(Post script: I will be taking a pause from blogging for the next three weeks as I am on a lecture tour on  the MS Braemar and I rather expect that I will have limited wi-fi access and therefore unable to deal with comments – or my own inevitable spelling mistakes – until I get back. See you 7th May!).

Mar 182015
Louis Bazalgette

Louis Bazalgette

There are times when I seem to be surrounded by members of the Bazalgette family: on Sunday evenings Edward Bazalgette is up there on my TV screen,with a credit as the director of Poldark; up until last year my pension was in the hands of Vivian Bazalgette; while his third cousin Sir Peter is Chair of the Arts Council. I am always reading about Sir Joseph William Bazalgette, the 19th-century English civil engineer who, as chief engineer of London’s Metropolitan Board of Works, put an end to ‘the Great Stink’. And now I have news of another Bazalgette, Edward’s brother, now living in Canada, called Charles. He has written a fascinating book about ‘the Daddy of them all’ – a man called Louis Bazalgette, but generally known as Prinny’s Taylor.

Charles has for many years been researching the life and times of his Georgian ancestor, in what has many parallels with my own research into my predecessor Richard Hall. But whereas my ancestor kept his head down and never troubled the scorers, Louis moved in exalted circles, becoming tailor to the Prince of Wales and making many of the costumes which Prinny so adored. The amount of research is astonishing, and the result is a book which has just come out in Kindle format. You can find it  here.

Author Charles Bazelgette

Author Charles Bazalgette

If you are looking for a complete overview of Regency History, this is not for you. Rather, it nibbles around the edges of the picture, giving snippets of information about the Prince of Wales, until it builds up a fascinating insight into his life and times. Sure, some of the details may be more relevant to members of the Bazalgette family – indeed Charles never originally intended this as a book for a wider audience – but I for one am delighted that he has persevered and  “put it out for all to see”.

Some of the information about Prinny and his wardrobe is quite astonishing – the sheer volume of orders, delivered daily, sometimes as many as a hundred in one month, and on one occasion with more than twenty items being ordered on a single day.

It is interesting to read Louis’ own technical description of garments made for the Prince, often delivered in person by the ever-available tailor on the morning of the actual ball (or whatever) and comparing it with the description of it in The Times, the very next day. The Prince was for ever ordering costumes for masquerades, at Carlton House, or military uniforms for parades at Brighton. He ordered outfits not just for himself but for members of his entourage (such as Colonel Hangar). And then generally failed to settle his debts…

And what debts – far more to his tailor than to anyone else! Charles lists the amounts owed to his ancestor in detail, based upon an examination of the records at the Royal and National Archives, and builds up a picture of the incredible extravagance of the Prince of Wales. In time of course Parliament coughed up, and Louis got his money, which he then seems to have lent (sometimes unwisely) to politicians, noblemen and West Indian plantation owners. This in turn led him and his executor to endless court battles as he sought to recover debts from defaulters.

 Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana

The Prince of Wales painted by Thomas Gainsborough in 1781. Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana

The book gives, as expected, the background as to how and when Louis came to this country from France. It gives great detail about individual costumes made for the Prince, and has a helpful appendix of tailoring terms. Indeed it would have made a wonderful fully-illustrated tome featuring surviving outfits, but alas, it is not to be. After George IV died his wardrobe of amazing costumes was sold off, generally at a fraction of their cost, and used as theatrical costumes, for fancy dress or stripped down to make other outfits. Hardly anything remains, and nothing which can be definitely pointed to as being “that was Louis’ work”. However his skills live on, in the portraits painted at the time. He was a man who shared the prince’s innermost secrets – after all, who gets closer to the future king than the man responsible for be-decking him in his finery? He must have been party to countless intrigues and royal secrets. In Prinny’s Taylor you get a great glimpse into the world of Carlton House and the Prince’s retreat in Brighton. It is a book for the connoisseur, perhaps destined never to appear in printed form, which would be a shame. Catch it while you can in electronic format – it is indeed fascinating.

aaacTo give it its full title, the book is called: Prinny’s Taylor: The Life and Times of Louis Bazalgette (1750-1830). As the blurb says: ‘The reason why Louis Bazalgette has been a shadowy figure until now is that the relationship between the two men was discreet and almost clandestine. This biography, based upon 20 years of painstaking research, presents a detailed picture of an extraordinary man, of humble origins, whose influence on gentlemen’s tailoring, and upon the Prince himself, must have been far-reaching..

To end with, three portraits of the portly Prince  in his finery – the first dating from 1816. It is by Henry Bone, after Sir Thomas Lawrence, and below it a miniature portrait of the smartly turned-out Prince as a young man, made by Richard Cosway in 1792, © National Portrait Gallery, London. The final image is of gorgeous George, in a portrait held by the Vatican. No tailor could have asked for more…

An 1816 portrait of the Prince Regent in all his finery, by Henry Bone (after Sir Thomas Lawrence).

The Prince of Wales, by Richard Cosway (private collection).    a geirge 4

Jun 272014

a seven In between packing for a trip to Canada and Alaska I found time this week to get to see Berrington Hall, set in the rolling Herefordshire countryside. I had driven past the grounds, laid out to designs of Capability Brown, on many occasions while travelling between Leominster and Ludlow, but had never been in to explore the National Trust property.

It meant a seven-hour round trip by car, but was it worth it? Yes. Your first impression of the neo-Palladian house, designed by Henry Holland in 1770, may be slightly under-whelming – it is “grandeur on a small scale” in the sense that it is nothing like as impressive and in-your-face as some of the better-known and larger Georgian country homes. But then the symmetry and manageability of the house strikes you that it is far more accessible than its bigger cousins – you can walk round it without getting room fatigue, you can enjoy it without huge crowds. It feels almost homely.

a eightAnd it really is a gem. The National Trust have tried hard to make it of interest to all age groups. There are walks through the parkland setting, with great picnic spots; the vista over the ha-ha separating the lawned area from the sheep munching away in the park is most effective and impressive; there is a lovely walled garden; there are boxes handed to youngsters filled with replica Georgian and Victorian toys so that they can see what their predecessors would have played with. But it is inside that the house comes alive. The rooms are beautiful and stuffed to the gills with items of interest. And, if like me, you have always wondered what it felt like to wear panniers around your waist, making you so wide that you have to sashay sideways through a door when entering or leaving the room (while wearing a two-foot high blonde wig perched on top of your head) this is the place for you! Because here you are encouraged to don panniers and wigs, and see for yourself what it was like to dress like an elegant Georgian! And no, photographs of the Georgian Gent in drag will not be released!

a one

The particular reason for the visit was the exhibition of costumes from the film The Duchess. It was fascinating to be able to see the wedding suit worn by Ralph Fiennes, or the gowns sported by Keira Knightley, including the rather lovely one which is called the “drunken dress”( i.e. the one in the scene where the inebriated duchess sets her head-dress on fire by bumping into the naked flame of a candle). There is her wedding dress and a riding outfit, and you can get up-close-and-personal with the shoe buckles, the hats, the accessories which are so evocative of the times. And when the present display ends at the end of the month it is quickly followed by a new exhibition, this time showing costumes from the BBC’s 1995 production of Pride and Prejudice.

a twoBut for me the really impressive thing about the items on display was the staggering collection of costumes collected by Charles Paget Wade. This extraordinary man built up an amazing eclectic collection of costumes, furniture and effects – anything which satisfied his demands for colour, design and good craftsmanship. A few, just a tiny few, of the tens of thousands of items are shown on display at Berrington Hall – at the moment it is mostly Georgian waistcoats, exhibited under the title of “Wearing the Garden,” but hopefully other boxes will be unpacked to reveal other jewels as the season progresses. The National Trust have organized all sorts of specials to attract visitors – there is an exhibition called “Big Bottoms and small waists” opening at the start of July and running through to the end of August. There is a two-day a threedemonstration called “Dressing and undressing a Georgian Lady” by stay-maker Ian Chipperfield on 12/13 July, and with the male counterpart, the Georgian gentleman, being dressed and undressed the following week. Mmm, sounds like a busy schedule, although I stress that this particular Georgian Gent will NOT be offering his services as mannequin!DSC09193

The house was originally built for Thomas Harley. He had made his name, and fortune, as a politician in London, becoming a Member of Parliament and, in 1767, Lord Mayor. Harley Street is named after him. But he retired to Herefordshire and built this stately pile, and I am rather glad that he did. It really is a Georgian gem, and with so much going on I will certainly try and visit it again during the summer.

Thanks to the National Trust for many of the close-up images – the blurry longer distance images are of course my own!

a five  a nine       a elevena ten

Jun 242014

Had I been strutting my stuff a couple of hundred years ago I like to think that I would have been the model of sartorial elegance (then, as now!). And what was the well-dressed young man-about-town wearing? Why, we have this etching to show us what was fashionable in February 1777.

Enormous buttons, tick; fancy decorated long cane with which to swagger, tick; shiny buckles on shoes, tick; smart cap with what looks like a target for pigeons to aim at, tick; enormous nosegay to ward off the odours of the common people, tick. Just the right amount of lace showing at the cuff, and a cravat which matches perfectly my silk waistcoat. Oh yes, I am the thing, dem-me!

It is high time that the male peacock made its appearance again! Bring back shoe buckles – and over-sized buttons come to that! Meanwhile, my thanks to the Lewis Walpole Library for the image.

May 122014

As a gentleman who is follicly challenged I do rather miss living in the Eighteenth Century, because then  (like everyone else) I would have had a whole-head shave every day. That way, there was less itching, a better fit to the wig, and fewer predations from the dreaded head-lice!

A2I would have started my day with a trip to the barber, as in this splendid print by Richard Newton, who lived between 1777 and 1798. Then, bald as a coot, I would have I would have paid a visit to D. Cook, peruke-maker, hair cutter & dresser, at the Star & Peruke in Carey Street near Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London.


And while we are on the subject, how wonderfully evocative all the names are of the different shops, all with their own hanging signs!

Topped off with my new peruke I would have been ready to strut my stuff about Town. Well, almost. I would have been faced with a choice: to powder or not to powder. A tax on powder was introduced in May 1795, hence this lovely Gillray print:


Entitled “Leaving off powder, or a Frugal Family saving the Guinea” it appears, as do all the other images, courtesy of the Lewis Walpole Library site.

I particularly like the oleaginous French wig-maker on the left, complete with a hole in his stocking, and as usual, shown looking like a monkey! Or Mick Jagger…

Her Ladyship, with a head as smooth as a baby’s bottom, throws up her hands in horror at the coloured monstrosity which is about to be placed on her head. In the background the glamourous daughter looks forlornly at her image in the glass, her fashionable white locks replaced with brown curls. There is an interesting contrast between the picture on the wall of  King Charles II, resplendent in his full-bottomed wig, and the young blade looking at his reflection in the mirror, his short crop no doubt feeling somewhat chilly on a May morning… Only Dad, warming himself by the fire, seems unconcerned by all the fuss: he is happy with the brown rug sitting atop his pate and he certainly isn’t about to dish out a guinea for anyone else in the household!

The Duty on Hair Powder Act of 1795 had come into force on 5th May of that year. From that date wig-wearers who wished to powder their tresses had to go to the  stamp office; fill in a form with their name; and apply for an annual certificate at a cost of one guinea (twenty-one shillings – the equivalent of perhaps £80). Various exemptions applied – for instance for poorer clergymen and certain classes of  the armed forces.The Royal Family and their servants were of course exempt from this iniquitous tax, which had the effect of ruining trade for the poor periwig makers of the day. The Act was repealed in 1869, by which time fewer than a thousand annual licences were being granted – and most of them were for servants.

If there was a household consisting of more than two unmarried daughters, good old dad could pay over his two guineas and write down the names of all his daughters to be included in the one certificate. Similarly, an employer could buy a licence for a servant, and extend it if the servant was replaced during the year.

The wearing of wigs became unfashionable almost immediately, but as we have just had the anniversary of this obscure example of the government meddling with our individual freedoms with an absurd fiscal measure, I thought it worth remembering!

Clearly there must have been discussions about what other products might be used to dress a wig without incurring the powder-tax. Hence this etching by Isaac Cruikshank, also from 1795, entitled “Debating Society : (substitute for hair powder)”. Beneath the picture of the braying ass the learned gentlemen are all shouting at once extolling the virtues of … honey, or mustard. (I think I might pass on that one!).

The organizer of the debate cries out “Silence gentlemen! To order, only ten speak at a time …”A6

And to end with, a print by Carrington Bowles engraved by John Collett, showing an Englishman in Paris, with the Frenchie hairdresser applying a liberal dusting of powder everywhere:

O.K. two more…. the  first one from the Old Master William Hogarth – not my favourite artist because he could be a trifle too moralistic for my liking, but here he is parodying all those pseudo-scientific treatises and manuals, talking about the wigs worn at the previous coronation:wigsIt is entitled the “Five Orders of Perriwigs…” and shows ‘Episcopal or Parsonic’ as well as ‘Old Peer-ian or Aldermanic’, ‘Lexonic”, and ‘Composite or Half Natural’ and ‘Queerinthian.’ Lots of in-jokes and digs at  contemporary scientific discoveries – nice one, Billy-boy!

Yet again, finally, here is another Richard Newton engraving, from 1798, illustrating the debate about wearing a wig:. As usual it comes courtesy of the Lewis Walpole Library:


May 052014

AAA mezzotint from 1787  entitled The Angelic Angler, and published by Robert Sayer, gives us a picture of a lady in an alarming hat, fishing. The caption makes it clear that the dear lady is of course fishing for men’s hearts as well as for something to accompany a nice plate of chips and mushy peas…

“At once Victorious, with your hands and eyes,

You make the fishes and the Men your prize,

And while the pleasing Slavery we Court,

I fear you Captivate us both for Sport.”

And while we are on the subject of improbable attire, here is an old favourite of mine – Miss Wicket and Miss Trigger


“Miss Wicket and Miss Trigger. Miss Trigger you see is an excellent shot, And forty five notches Miss Wicket’s just got.”

Playing cricket, shooting, my goodness they will be after our vote ‘ere long! Another picture by John Collet, again with a splendid hat, and with the lady pulling heartily on the oars:


Staying with Collet, who lived between 1725 and 1780, here is another one in which the ladies presume to muscle in on a male preserve, in this case bowling. Only she seems to have forgotten to let go of the ball, and appears intent on demolishing the pins manually…. The image is copyright of the British Museum. Just clock those hats! Splendid!


And to end with another sexist view of a woman’s place….behind the bar down at the pub! Once more it is by John Collet.



Apr 182014

Two etchings from the same year, both courtesy of the British Museum, featuring a crop – the name given to a short haircut which started to come into fashion at the end of the 18th Century.

One suspects that anyone middle-aged would be grateful for the trend – after all, if you had spent years and years shaving your entire head and wearing a wig, only for wig-wearing to go out of fashion, your chances of growing back a fine head of luxuriant curly hair were not too good!  The ability to choose a crop was an obvious one – but it did not go un-noticed by the caricaturists of the day. The look was certainly ‘on trend’  – in the aftermath of the Revolution in France powdered wigs went out of fashion, and the crop was certainly an egalitarian alternative.


First up, “A natural crop – alias a Norfolk dumpling” showing the Duke of Norfolk. It was drawn by James Gillray and published in 1791. The British Museum describes it as “a whole length satirical portrait of the Duke of Norfolk, directed to the right; in his left hand is the baton of Earl Marshal; his right hand is in his waistcoat pocket. He wears top-boots, a slouched hat, and his hair is closely cropped. Earlier caricatures show the Duke wearing his own hair, without powder, hanging on his neck.”

Mmm, not exactly high fashion….


The second one, entitled simply “The Crop” also came out in 1791 and was by Isaac Cruikshank. It features a rather fine-looking gentleman, looking glass in hand, observing the world  so as to make sure that the world was noticing him. From his high-crowned hat to his striped waistcoat, and his long buttock-clenching pantaloons –  laced around the ankles – we see a man of fashion casually surveying the world, with his jacket slipped nonchalantly over his left shoulder. I love the high collar and the splendid cravat, and what the Museum site call ‘very short top-boots.’ His mincing style, pursed lips and inquisitive stare make him a striking figure, which the Museum suggests may represent Lord Barrymore.

For myself, I can’t see the likeness – but will do a blog on the Lords Barrymore and their marvellously nick-named family shortly. There was Hellgate, there was Newgate, there was Cripplegate – and how could one forget the foul-mouthed sister known to all as Billingsgate? Follow this space….

Feb 032014

Trawling through different museum websites looking for images to use in my next book (an illustrated history of the Georgian era) I was delighted to come across the Library of Congress site. I particularly  liked this caricature which I had not seen before, dating to 1772. It is entitled ‘Out of fashion – in fashion’  and is a rather nice way of showing how men’s dress altered in the middle of the 18th Century – not just in terms of the cut of the fabric, but also the patterns of the material.


As the site says: “Two gentlemen in contrasted costumes starting back amazed at each other; one wears the fashionable dress of ca. 1750, the other a large laced hat of the Kevenhuller style, a loose, wide-skirted, large cuffed coat, and a bag attached to his wig”.

Never mind the bag, cop those leopard-print knee-length breeches with matching waistcoat!

Aug 202013

If caricaturists loved ridiculing the macaroni in the Eighteenth Century it is nothing compared to the way their successors – in particular the Cruickshanks – pilloried his 19th Century counterpart, the dandy.

It all seems such a long way from the simple and stylish elegance of  Beau Brummel – these ludicrous dandified costumes with high collars, tight waists, bulging (false) calf muscles and so on. The implication in many of the cartoons was that the poor slavish follower of these fashions was starving in order to look fashionable, and then succumbed to any passing breath of wind.

Here are a few I like, courtesy as usual of the Lewis Walpole Library site.

First up, one called “The Dandy sick, o Tim” which the site describes as follows:

“A bedroom scene suggesting genteel poverty, poorly furnished but with a carpeted floor. An emaciated dandy wearing a woman’s beribboned cap, and a dressing-gown, with high collar, frilled shirt, and breeches, droops in a chair, attended by two friends and a visitor.

The last (left) bows, holding hat and rolled umbrella, and asks “How do? What’s matt.” The invalid: “Not Well — Ca-a-nt tell.” One friend, wearing a woman’s cap, scarf, and a dangling pin-cushion, with dandy’s dress, proffers a glass containing ‘Dandy Water’ from an effervescing bottle; he says: “Do my dear fello take this nice cordial & this pretty Gilt Pill, it will raise your delicate drooping spirits, & keep off the Hysterics, which you know distresses your tender frame so unmercifully.”

The other (right), who wears an apron with dandy costume, and has a medicine-bottle in a pocket, proffers the pill, supporting the shoulders of the patient. He says: “Aye my sweet fellu I will torment my own frame to death, but I will discover some new Pectoral, Balsamic envigorating tonic nervous & exhilerating Cordial for your exquisite and effeminate Constitution.”

All four have stick-like limbs and debased features. On the bed beside the patient lie two books: ‘Ovids Art of Love’ and ‘Ovids Metamoposis’. On the wall hang the dandy’s coat, top-boots, riding-switch, and (on a shelf) Wig box, spurs, and bell-shaped top-hat. On a bare table (left) are a pin-cushion, bottles, one of ‘Ruspinos Styptic.’ Under it is an open trunk heaped with articles of dress. On the ground (right) are chamber-pots and a huswife.

It first appeared in February 1819 and deals with the same theme as this one by Isaac Cruikshank which appeared three months earlier:

A dandy lies back fainting in a chair, his limbs held rigid, supported by three others while a fourth figure (on the left) draws the curtain, cutting off a view of the  stage where a singer is performing. The three supporters say in turn:

“I am so frighten’d I can hardly stand!”;

“Mind you don’t soil the Dear’s linnen,” and,

“I dread the consequence! That last Air of Signeur Nonballenas has thrown him in such raptures, we must call a Doctor  immediately!”

A bottle of ‘Eau de Colonge’ [sic] is held  to the patient’s nostril. The fourth turns to say: “I must draw the curtain or his screams will alarm the House—you have no fello-feeling my dear fellos, pray unlace the dear loves Stays, and lay him on the Couch.”

Mind you, if the dandy wasn’t being an effeminate wimp, he was portrayed as a dishonest rogue, as in this one entitled Dandy Pickpockets Diving:

It shows a couple pre-occupied as they look in a shop window. The taller dandy rifles through the man’s pockets and passes the stolen goods across to his accomplice, who is about to run off smart-ish.

I previously used this one by Cruikshank showing dandies getting dressed – I just love the idea of calf-muscle falsies!


From left to right: The seated figure exclaims “D__n it! I really believe I must take off my cravat or I shall never get my trowsers on”

To his right “Pon honour Tom you are a charming figure! You’ll captivate the girls to a nicety!!

The half dressed dandy, one calf pad in place, replies “Do you think so Charles? I shall look more the thing when I get my other calf on.”

The figure standing on the chair trying to tie his cravat with both hands, is saying “Dear me this is hardly stiff enough. I wish I had another sheet of fools cap“  to which the dandy looking at himself in the glass replies, (no doubt without a hint of double entendre!) “You’ll find some to spare in my breeches.”

To end with: The Hen-Pecked Dandy. The caption reads: “The Demon of Fashion Sir Fopling bewitches— The reason his Lady betrays—  For as she is resolved upon wearing the Breeches,  In revenge he has taken the Stays!”

Frankly I am amazed the era of the dandy lasted five minutes with Cruikshank around taking the p*ss the whole time!  No wonder that once the Regency era was over there was a backlash and we ended up with sombre Victorian austerity in men’s fashions!