Tuesday, Jun 22, 2010
“I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy…” (Geo. M. Cohan).
Beau Brummel may have set the standard for elegance and style but not every man aspiring to Brummel’s flair succeeded. The style soon went over the top. What flowed naturally and unselfconsciously from Beau Brummel all too often became affectation and pretension in others and it was this class of dandies that became the subject of caricature and ridicule.
Scholars have written extensively about the Dandy fad and phenomenon but none have commented more incisively than Cruikshank with his artist’s pen and ink in these twelve plates.
The Plates (* @British Museum):
1. Dandies at Tea. T. Tegg, Nov. 1818. Numbered 317. With G. Cruikshank disavowal. *BM 13065.
2. Dandies and Dandizettes. T. Tegg. Nov. 6, 1818. Numbered 318.
3. Dandies Having a Treat. T. Tegg. Jan. 1, 1818. Numbered 324.
4. Dandies Dressing. T. Tegg. Nov. 2, 1818. Numbered 319. *BM 13062.
5. English Ladies Dandy Toy. T. Tegg. Dec. 9, 1818. *BM 13067.
6. The Hen-Pecked Dandy. T. Tegg. Nov. 7, 1818. Numbered 320. *BM 13064.
7. Dandy Pickpockets Diving. T. Tegg. Dec. 2, 1818. Numbered 322. Cohn 1043.
8. A Dandy Shoe maker in a Frightâ€¦T. Tegg. Dec. 3, 1818. Numbered 321. *BM 13066.
9. The Dandy Lion. S.W. Forbes. Dec. 8, 1818. *BM 13029.A.
10. Comparative Anatomy â€“ or The Dandy Tribe. S.W. Forbes Dec. 10, 1818. *BM 13068.
11. A Dandy Fainting, or An Exquisite in Fits. G. Humphrey Dec. 11, 1818. *BM 13069.
12. A Dandy Sick. S.W. Forbes Feb 9, 1819. * BM 13447.
In 1965, a rock n’ roll group from San Francisco, inspired, apparently, by Regency England’s celebrity clothes-horse, had a handful of Billboard Top-Ten hits. Go ahead, laugh, laugh.
Beau Brummel, because of his extravagances, had to flee England to avoid debtor’s prison. He died in Caen, France, wallet and wardrobe impoverished, a sad death for the Dandy king.
CRUIKSHANK, [Isaac] Robert. [Dandies]. [T. Tegg and S.W. Forbes]: London, 1818-19.
A series of separately issued, first-state engravings, here collected. Folio (16 x 12 in; 410 x 305 mm). Twelve hand-colored engraved plates mounted on stubbed heavy stock. Plate I (numbered 317) is inscribed and initialed by George Cruikshank in the lower left corner over Robt. Cruickshank's name: "Not any of it by me."
Nineteenth century three-quarter green morocco over green cloth boards with gilt lettering. With the bookplates of collectors Samuel Henry Austin, and Reuben Jay Flick.