James Gillray

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James Gillray

And Catch the Living Manners as They Rise

[London]: Published by H. Humphrey, No. 18 Old Bond Street, 7 May 1794

Etching and aquatint, hand colored
300 x 231 mm, on sheet trimmed to plate mark, 351 x 248 mm

Bequest of Gordon N. Ray, 1987
Peel Collection; Peel Volume 10, Number 197

Item description: 

In Austen's letter to Cassandra, written from Bath on 2 June 1799 (MA 977.4), she commented on the style of contemporary hat decorations with evident amusement: "Flowers are very much worn, & Fruit is still more the thing.—Eliz: has a bunch of Strawberries, & I have seen Grapes, Cherries, Plumbs & Apricots—There are likewise Almonds & raisins, french plums & Tamarinds at the Grocers, but I have never seen any of them in hats." Gillray's caricatures satirized ladies who wore enormous ostrich feathers that needed to be glued in place with large quantities of goose grease and hair powder.