Air of a Dandy

Nicholas Freese


In 1800 The Oracle, a London journal, advised its male readers that “your cravat should come up to your ears and be filled out with with a stiffener large and strong”. Around the same time, Lady Stanley commented in a letter to a friend “Pray inform me if there is anything like a shirt annexed to the hideous ears … because I think that part would be very comfortable to keep one snug from flies
and sun”. And so it would seem that the vagaries of fashion could come with added benefits!

This gentleman was certainly fashion conscious as he is indeed wearing a high collar and deep cravat as well as a royal blue coat with gilt buttons. His hair too is worn natural as advised by The Oracle which urged “have your hair cropped in the neatest manner … and by means wear powder”.

Painted by Nicholas Freese around 1805, the portrait is housed in the original gold frame with a glazed aperture to the reverse revealing plaited brown hair.

Recent research has discovered that Nicholas Freese was born around 1761 in Birmingham to a German father and an English mother but it was to London that he moved in order to practise as an artist. He exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1794 and 1814.

Item Ref. 5871

Size: framed, 72 x 58mm + hanger