Pretty Gentlemen Macaroni Men and the Eighteenth-Century Fashion World Peter McNeil

Publication date:
20 Mar 2018
Yale University Press
256 pages: 254 x 190mm
150 color + b-w illus.
Sales territories:

The term “macaroni” was once as familiar a label as “punk” or “hipster” is today. In this handsomely illustrated book devoted to notable 18th-century British male fashion, award-winning author and fashion historian Peter McNeil brings together dress, biography, and historical events with the broader visual and material culture of the late 18th century. For thirty years, macaroni was a highly topical word, yielding a complex set of social, sexual, and cultural associations. Pretty Gentlemen is grounded in surviving dress, archival documents, and art spanning hierarchies and genres, from scurrilous caricature to respectful portrait painting. Celebrities hailed and mocked as macaroni include politician Charles James Fox, painter Richard Cosway, freed slave Julius "Soubise," and criminal parson Reverend Dodd. The style also rapidly spread to neighboring countries in cross-cultural exchange, while Horace Walpole, George III, and Queen Charlotte were active critics and observers of these foppish men. 

Peter McNeil is distinguished professor at University of Technology Sydney and Aalto University, Helsinki.

"work of real academic merit" — Gareth Wyn Davies, World of Interiors

"a beautifully illustrated and richly informative book" – Norma Clark, TLS

“Entertaining and illuminating” — Marina Warner, TLS (Books of the Year 2018)

“The book is both interesting and enjoyable for an insight into aspects of late eighteenth century society.” —Alison Fairhurst, The Journal of Dress History

Long listed for the Historians of British Art Book Prize