An American Barber's, Vermont,Va, by Eyre Crowe (1824-1910). Source: Crowe, facing p. 138. Image and text added by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use the image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the source and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. [Click on the image to enlarge it.]

At the state house in Richmond, Crowe was impressed by Houdon [Jean Antoine Houdon (1741–1828)]'s statue of General Washington: he considered it "a great masterpiece," adding,"The story is pleasantly told on the occasion of the famous French sculptor's visit to Mount Vernon" that

these great craftsmen ... disdained heroics, but they gave alike the exact measurement of the stature, the simple pose, the serene smile, and the imperishable marble form of those before them. One wonders why these noble versions are not simply reproduced, instead of modern caracoling equestrian statues filling squares, which give no mortal any pleasure to look at. The clean-shaven face of the "Father of his Country" has doubtless had the effect of giving encouragement to all good Americans — his children — to do likewise. Exemplifying this, here is the quaint posture of nearly horizontal rest in which the barber plies the razor upon the cheeks and chins of most of his customers, that curious excrescence — the goatee — betwixt lip and chin, forming the exception to the usually clean-shaven face. [137-40]

The sketch gives a flavour of the lively interest that Crowe took in American culture at every level. It is pleasant also to see the mixture of races here. Crowe had strong abolitionist sympathies.

Related Material


Crowe, Eyre. With Thackeray in America. New York: Scribner's, 1893. Internet Archive. Web. 21 February 2018.

Last modified 27 June 2020