|The Macaroni, a Real Character at the Late Masquerade by Philip Dawe, 1773|
The rather fine gentleman above is, without a doubt, a macaroni. The term was applied to 18th century chaps who considered themselves the very height of fashion; affected in manner, dress and speech, they went one step beyond fashion and stamped a flamboyant mark on everything they did. Conscious of their image above all else, the macaroni means to make a splash and to be remembered by all who encounter him.
The term came out of a slang term used by gentleman returning from their grand tour; experienced in continental ways and cuisine they were referred to as "the Macaroni Club", in reference to the food they had eaten whilst in Europe. This was shorted to the slang term, "macaroni", and the name stuck.
The dress and style of the macaroni is perfectly parodied in Dawe's work, where a fine chap is captured in his stylish abode, mincing along to use a well-stocked toilet table of potions and powders. Our breathtakingly styled subject is clad in fine and fussy garments that surpass the height of fashion, with lashings of lace for good measure. His crowning is his magnificent wig, half as tall as him again and atop it he has perched a tiny tricorne hat. To protect against the less salubrious odours of the city and give him a little extra pizazz as he trots off to enjoy an evening at the pantheon, our macaroni has adorned himself with an elaborate nosegay and no doubt he will be as looked-at as the entertainments he is going to enjoy!
This mezzotint was first published on 3rd July 1773 and perfectly captures the preening pinnacle of macaroni fashion; I think he looks rather fabulous!