Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1763 Anglo-Irish gentleman

Subject: gentleman aristocrat
Culture: Anglo-Irish Protestant
Setting: Protestant Ascendancy, Georgian Ireland 18thc

Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)

* Hurley 2007 p53
"Eagerness rather than reluctance to heighten standing predominated.   Sticklers tried in vain to curb the promiscuous use of the appellation of 'gentleman'.  The Recorder of Dublin explained that 'the word "gentleman" is a style, addition or designation whereby men of fashion, substance and education in this kingdom are distinguished and designed in deeds ... from merchants or men of inferior callings'.  This liberality, even laxity, continued to worry.  In 1721, a caustic eye was cast over a published list of subscribers to a proposed national bank.  Of thirty-seven styled 'esquire', twenty were alleged to be so 'little known' that their qualifications should be referred to the King at Arms.  Those who had assumed or been accorded the dignity were mocked as unworthy of it.  The confusion cried out for regulation, but with the heralds powerless to degrade upstarts, little could be done.  Instead, alternative criteria for separating gentlemen from squires, the gentle or genteel from the unmannerly, and the quality form the rest were proposed.  The trouble was that neither the group to be measured nor the measures to be used were universally agreed.  Squires might form a discrete band; the 'gentry' or 'quality' did not.  Ancestry offered one device for evaluation, but increasingly there was reluctance to accord precedence simply on grounds of pedigree.  Office-holding or professional qualifications offered more solid evidence of substance.  So, too, did income.  At the same time, subjective qualities were invoked."

* Hurley 2007 p44
"... European style dueling was so popular among the Anglo-Irish Protestant aristocracy, that it may have influenced the Gaelic Irish, who -- as a fallen aristocracy -- in many ways conformed their behavior to that of Europe's aristocracy."


* National Museum of Ireland -- Decorative Arts & History > The Way We Wore
"WEARING YOUR WEALTH  In the 18th century rich men displayed their wealth and culture by wearing luxurious clothing.  Wealthy men ... competed to display their lavish embroidery and expensive accessories.  The current fashion dictated even tiny details -- the amount of handkerchief to hang from a pocket or the length of ribbon in the hair.
    "These extravagant French fashions provided many opportunities for display.  Fabrics, buttons, lace and ribbons (often smuggled to avoid paying duty) helped create the total look.  Irish journalists frequently ridiculed this style of dress, as many preferred the more conservative English fashions."

* Barnard 2003 p41
"By 1742, 'persons of quality and distinction' in Dublin had resolved to show a patriotic benevolence by wearing only clothes of Irish manufacture."