Friday, February 5, 2010

Big Hair, Ladder High

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In the 1760s, just before the greatest period of turmoil in the British American colonies, fashionable hairstyles for genteel English women began to climb toward the heavens. This new style, imported from France, became the commerical target of London's printsellers & caricaturists during the 1770s. Themes of a few of these hairdos refer to the unrest in the American colonies.

The relationship between England & France during this period was complex. People traveled back & forth between the countries imitating each other's culture & fashions. At the same time the governments were rivals in economic, colonial, constitutional, & religious sectors, & were at war for much of the 18th century. Satire was inevitable.

1771. Carrington Bowles, Miss Prattle Consulting Doctor Double Fee about her Pantheon Head Dress. London.



1771 & 1776. Sayer & Bennett. The Ridiculous Taste or the Ladies Absurdity. London.



1771. Matthew Darly. Boarding School Education or the Frenchified Young Lady. London.



1773. John Bowles. Is this my Daughter? New York Public Library.



1776. Carrington Bowles. Fashionable Dress for the Year 1776. London. Yale Center for British Art.



1776. Matthew Darly. Miss Juniper Fox. London.



1776. Matthew Darly. Noodle Island or How We Are Deceived. (On the Evacuation of Boston by Howe in March 1776.) London.



1776. Matthew Darly. The Extravaganza or the Mountain Head Dress of 1776. London.



1776. Anonymous. The Lady's Maid or the Toilet Head Dress. London.



1776. Matthew Darly. The Preposterous Head Dress, or the Featherd Lady. London. The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University.



1777. Matthew Darly. Chloes's Cushion or the Cork Rump. London. (Notice the King Charles Spaniel on the rump.)



1777. Matthew Darly. The Green Stall (a Hairdo fit for Market Day). London.



1777, Matthew Darly. Long Corks or the Bottle Companions. London.



1777. Matthew Darly. Oh Heigh Oh or a View of the Back Settlements. London. (Today these backcountry posts are known as Ohio.)



1777. Matthew Darly. The Flower Garden. London.



1777. Matthew Darly. The Fruit Stall (Market Fruits Ready to be Eaten). London.


1777. J. Lockington. This Is Something New. (For the rainiest days.) London.


1777. Bunkers Hill or America's Head Dress. (That American Problem, again.) London.

There is a great article on big hair by Kate Haulman on the website Common-Place. (Thank you, Kristin Peszka.)

For more on London prints & printmakers.


For more on London satirical prints about fashion.
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