I moustache you a question…..

Sorry, couldn’t resist…

Just back from Framing the Face: New Perspectives on the History of Facial Hair, held in London on 28 November. Amidst a stimulating range of papers, ranging from political, elite beard-wearing and prohibition in Renaissance Italy (John Gagné) to National Theatre Deputy Head of Wig and Make-up Helen Casey’s reflections on famous screen moustaches in 20th-century film and TV, Emily drew on her work on difference to offer a paper on ‘Bearded bawds in early modern London’. Hers was not the only contribution to raise issues of the intersection of gender identity with facial hair, but she did raise the important question of ‘what is a beard, exactly?’ and showed how facial hair and pubic hair are inextricably linked in the early modern (and one might argue, cross-period) imaginary.

Shaving and sex might in fact form another interesting conference theme – this 18th-century image certainly suggests that James Bond film Skyfall wasn’t the first to exploit that particular seamy seam…

V0019728 A female barber shaving a man whilst astride him. Coloured e Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://wellcomeimages.org A female barber shaving a man whilst astride him. Coloured engraving. 1773 Published: 1 January 1773 Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

V0019728 A female barber shaving a man whilst astride him. Coloured e
Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images
images@wellcome.ac.uk
http://wellcomeimages.org
A female barber shaving a man whilst astride him. Coloured engraving.
1773 Published: 1 January 1773
Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

I also particularly enjoyed Justin Bengry’s paper on shaving product advertisements, which highlighted the language of the threat to health inherent in choosing the wrong soap! Maggie Pelling rounded off proceedings with a fascinating plenary on early modern portraiture.

The Effaced team hopes that one aspect of facial hair notably absent from proceedings – its use to disguise facial difference and disfigurement – might be addressed in our spring gathering at Winchester. But Alun Withey and Jen Evans are to be congratulated on putting together such an interesting and idea-filled day.

And here’s another Wellcome image, to remind us that facial hair is a class as well as gender issue….

V0040592 Two short men in top hats and carrying canes are sporting mo Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://wellcomeimages.org Two short men in top hats and carrying canes are sporting moustaches, they are watched from behind by two considerably more elegant men with whiskers. Wood engraving by John Leech. By: John LeechPublished:  -  Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

V0040592 Two short men in top hats and carrying canes are sporting mo
Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images
images@wellcome.ac.uk
http://wellcomeimages.org
Two short men in top hats and carrying canes are sporting moustaches, they are watched from behind by two considerably more elegant men with whiskers. Wood engraving by John Leech.
By: John LeechPublished: –
Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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