Miss Shuttlecock. Richard Brinsley Sheridan for Matthew Darly (Published by); 1776; London. The Bute Archive Mount Stuart
The lady wears such a gigantic wig adorned with feathers that she resembles a shuttlecock and is seen between two men who take advantage of her attire and use her thus.
The Bute Collection at Mount Stuart has fantasticly humorous collection of portraiture and satirical etchings that mock the excesses of high fashion and politics in Georgian Britain. There are several attributed to Matthew Darly. He and his wife Mary specialised in caricature, firstly concentrating on political satire in the politically unstable 1750’s and then later on the world of fashion.
These prints were primarily a source of amusement to the public of the time, but now give a fascinating insight into what was an increasingly fashion conscious society and its obsession with vanity. We can see the Georgian pre-occupation with the latest trends and the style of their French contemporaries. This etching makes fun of a lady with an absurdly large hair-styles. These wigs and high hair fashion were for both men and women and hindered people’s ability to go about their normal lives. Perhaps this is a comment on how a woman may loose her true strength and identity beneath the fanciful fashion of the period and risk becoming a mere plaything.
Bute Archive Mount Stuart
The Bute Collection contains 25,000 rare books and artefacts in one of the UK’s foremost private collections. Housed in the magnificent Gothic revival mansion of Mount Stuart on the isle of Bute, it provides a glimpse into centuries of art and history reflecting the interests of successive generations of the Bute family. Visitors can view everything from works on theology and ornithology to porcelain and custom-made furniture. A recent find of global significance is a Shakespeare First Folio containing many of the Bard’s most familiar plays.