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Written by JulieW
(3/4/2007 6:58 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Quizzical brow here…, penned by Robbin
He is calling Bob a " macaroni"
I like this picture - it seems to me to illustrate Bob Acres in Before and After Polishing attitudes.....Here is shown a macaroni( on the right) and someone who has not achieved Bob’s advanced level of polishing ;-)
So what exactly was a macaroni?
Look at this explanation from Eileen Ribeiro, in her excellent book Dress in Eighteenth Century Europe
Young men-about-town, such as the macaronis in England and elegants in France, exaggerated their lean figures with striped suits and stockings and their height with toupets that rose to six inches and more.
The macaronis, latest in the long line of fashionable empty-headed young men took their name in the 1760s from a dish they had tasted on their grand tour; they formed a club, 'the members of which were supposed to be the standards of taste in polite learning, the fine arts and the genteel sciences; and fashion, amongst the other constituent parts of taste, became an object of their attention.
But they soon proved, they had very little claim to any distinction, except in their external appearance. Their influence was out of proportion to their number, though society and fashion papers in the 1770s and a few men of importance, such as Charles James Fox, helped popularize their fashions in clubs such as Almacks.
These fashions consisted of towering wigs with tiny hats, very tight coats (to achieve the fashionable unbroken line an inside pocket (1777) replaced the outside flapped pocket) with huge buttons, nosegays in their buttonholes and vast shoe buckles.
Inevitably, they were a godsend to the first great age of caricature, particularly when artists could linger on the effeminate side of the costume- parasols, the powder, the large muffs, the perfume and the light colours- which were, except for court, becoming old-fashioned.
The styles may have originated in France (possibly to try to stem the flood of English outdoor fashions that would, in the following decade, sweep all before them),but in England the frivolity and richness of macaroni clothes was attributed the wealth of nabobs returning from India to England.
William Hickey, who spent some years in India, described the transformation of a friend , who:
“Instead of the plain brown cloth suit we had last seen him in, with un-powdered hair and a single curl, we now beheld a furiously powdered and turned head with six curls on each side, a little skimming dish of a hat. His coat was of a thick silk the colour sky blue and lined with crimson satin, the waistcoat and breeches also of crimson satin ... The cut too was entirely different from anything we had seen, having a remarkable long waist coat with scarce any skirts.”
Ridiculous though many of the more exaggerated macaroni styles were,their emphasis on a slim figure helped to improve the quality of tailoring and the shape of the average man.
No longer, by the 1780s, could a moderately fashionable man be pot-bellied in baggy breeches, for, said the Fashionable Magazine (1786), they 'are made excessively high-waisted, long over the knees and to set very tight'; they had to be cut high, for by this time the waistcoat was 'exceedingly short', usually double-breasted and with” small lapels”.
The macaronis and their followers represented the last gasp of the bright highly decorative clothing that to so many is so typical of the eighteenth century. The mood by the 1770s, and even more so in the following decade was for the “agreeable negligence in dress” typical of the English country gentleman. It was Dr Johnson in his rusty brown suit rather than Oliver Goldsmith in his bloom coloured coat that fitted the mood of the last quarter of the centurypage 211-12
So- little did he know it ,but the tide of fashion was soon to turn against poor Cluless Bob. All that money spent on Macaroni-ing himself was wasted. He would have been far better off staying countrified to be truly fashionable- LOL
Poor Bob woud make a fine print distributed around the country, in print shops like the one below(I don't think):
And why "Devon"? Because that is where poor Cluless Bob lives in Cold Hall , with ancint madam his motehr, Phyllis the dog and Moll Tester( but the less said on her and her favours the better ):-)
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