Collection online

Frailties of fashion

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • Frailties of fashion
  • Description

    A satire on the fashion for dress projecting in front to give the effect of pregnancy. A promenade in a park. On the extreme left is a little girl holding a doll, both dressed in the prevailing fashion. Next walks (left to right) the Prince of Wales between Mrs. Fitzherbert (left) and the Duchess of York (right), who both take his arm. Next and behind, an elderly hag taking the arm of a 'cit' travesties the fashion. The next couple are two ladies walking right to left, young and good-looking, who wear their short-waisted dresses and clinging draperies with credit; the one in profile is probably Lady Charlotte Campbell. Next and in the middle distance is a group of three: Mrs. Hobart (?) and Lady Archer (the latter in a riding-habit) face each other angrily; a man stands between them. In the foreground Lady Cecilia Johnston stands in profile to the left, a paroquet sitting on the enormous protuberance below her waist; her companion (? George Hanger) wears a large cocked hat and holds a club. On the extreme right a couple walks off in back view. 1 May 1793
    Hand-coloured etching


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1793
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 299 millimetres
    • Width: 518 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered with title and publishing details: 'IC [Cruikshank.] London Pub May 1. 1793 by S. W. Fores No 3 Piccadilly where May be seen a Compleat Model of the Guillotine likway the Greatest Collection of Caracaturs in the Kingdom also the Head and hand of Count Streuenzee Admitance one Shilling'
  • Curator's comments

    (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VII, 1942)
    Elliot describes 'the modern fashion of dress for young ladies', worn at balls, &c. The idea was to imitate the drapery of statues and pictures, the dress fastened immediately below the bust. The 'slight swell of the figure' was imitated by pads on the stomach, 'an exact representation of a state of pregnancy. This dress is accompanied by a complete display of the bosom - which is uncovered, and supported and stuck out by the sash immediately below it.' 'Life and Letters of Sir G. Elliot', ii. 133 (25 Apr. 1793). See also 'Auckland Corr.' ii. 508 (30 Apr. 1793). Its introduction is attributed to Lady Charlotte Campbell, see BMSat 8719. The appliance causing the protuberance was called a pad; it was ridiculed in the epilogue by Andrews to Reynolds's comedy 'How to grow Rich' (Covent Garden, 18 Apr. 1793), when a pad was produced. 'Life of Frederick Reynolds', ii. 162-4. A farce, 'The Pad' (Robert Woodbridge), was acted at Covent Garden, 27 May 1793. See also BMSats 8387, 8389, 8390, 8391, 8571.


  • Bibliography

    • BM Satires 8388 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (British XVIIIc Mounted Imp)

  • Exhibition history

    2002 Jan-Mar, Newcastle, Hatton Gall, Followers of Fashion
    2002 Jun-Jul, Belfast, Ulster Mus, Followers of Fashion
    2002 Aug-Sep, Nottingham, Djanogly AG, Followers of Fashion
    2002/3 Dec-Feb, Brighton MAG, Followers of Fashion
    2003 Apr-Jun, Braintree District Mus, Followers of Fashion

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat).  1 May 1793.  Hand-coloured etching


FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat). 1 May 1793. Hand-coloured etching

Image description



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Object reference number: PPA154210

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