Aesthetics. English Society. Sketched by George du Maurier.

Mrs. Van T romp.—“Oh. Sir Charles? Modern English male attire is too hideous. Just look round . . . there are only two decently dressed men in the room!”

Sir Charles,— “Indeed? And which are they, may I ask?”

Mrs. Van Troup.— “Well. I don't know who they are, exactly; but just now one seems to be offering the other a cup of tea.”

In this cartoon, which comments on male dress of the period, the speaker claiming that only the footman and the clergyman, both of whom are wearing costume largely unchanged since the eighteenth century, dress attractively. Since the most important difference between those men and the others in the room consists in the fact that they wear tight breeches and long stockings whereas the other wear trousers, du Maurier may be making a commentary on conservatism in politics as well as dress: as Carlyle reminds us, many French revolutionaries wore the trousers of the working classes and were known therefore as "sans culottes" (without breeches) -- and now even members of the upper classes dress like the lower orders. What is implied about their social roles by the fact that (only) a servant and a clergyman wear this already archaic costume?

Scanned image and text by George P. Landow [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]


English Society. Sketched by George du Maurier. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1897.

Last modified 6 July 2001