Moustaches, Whiskers & Beards (National Portrait Gallery Short Histories)
Taking as her starting point images from the holdings of the National Portrait Gallery, London, writer and art historian Lucinda Hawksley explores the history of facial hair, from prehistoric times to the present day. By way of introduction, she investigates the Pharaonic beard in ancient Egypt, the work of barbers in classical Greece and Rome, and the role of facial hair at the time of the Vikings and in Medieval and Renaissance Europe. With reference to portraits from the Gallery's collections and archives, Hawksley explains the Tudor beard tax and why Regency beaus grew whiskers. She also looks at the rise of the beard at the time of the Crimean War, the rules on facial hair in the army, navy and air force, the hippies' penchant for long hair in the 1960s and the most recent fashion for facial hair in the twenty-first century. Lively and engaging feature pages include The Widdowes Treasure (a sixteenth-century book that contains a recipe to make "the haire of the bearde grow"), Record Breakers (the world's longest moustache and beard), and Women and Facial Hair; there are also explorations of how medical advances and the rise of advertising have affected male grooming. Entertaining and informative, this fascinating foray into our hairy past is the perfect gift for the pogonophile in your life―or indeed anyone interested in the long and curly history of moustaches, whiskers and beards.