Before I embark on styling Leonard’s wig, I want to collect and look at some historical images of wigs worn by Macaroni or fop men in the 18th century (a topic near & dear to my heart)…
Here are photos I took of the “dandy” or “fop” wig on display at the Colonial Williamsburg wig shop & of the same wig, closeups, at a wig-making workshop I attended at Colonial Williamsburg in March 2011. Click on any photo in this post for a larger image.
Also, there were the Macaronis, fashionable young Englishmen known for wearing tall wigs. Here are some images from the class I did at Costume College.
The first one is perhaps the most iconic Macaroni print, titled “The Macaroni: A Real Character at the Late Masquerade,” 1773, by Philip Dawe, original at the Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University.
Second is a closeup of wig from the print “How’d Ye Like Me?” 1772, original in the British Museum.
Next is a closeup of wig from the print, “An Appointment Overheard,” 1770s, original in the British Museum.
Last is “Lord ____ or The Nosegay Macaroni,” 1771-1773, by Mary and Matthew Darly, original at the Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University — Looks rather like the movie version of Leonard, imo.
It’s important to realize that the Macaroni prints were caricatures. They were intended to mock the fashion, not accurately portray it. Macaronis were an English fashion trend created by wealthy young men who had been on the Grand Tour of the continent; they were affecting and exaggerating French styles. They were seen as ridiculous by the staid and less a la mode English gentry and especially the middle class, who were the audience for the Macaroni prints. So it’s difficult to know what these young men actually wore, how extreme it was, or how wild it looked in comparison to mainstream fashions of the era.
Searching around, I found an excellent portrait of Christian VII of Denmark, circa 1775. It’s useful because he is wearing a dramatically large wig for the era (compare to Ernest II of Sachsen-Gotha-Altenburg, also in 1775). It’s not a caricature, and the king is wearing traditional dress for royalty, nothing exaggerated.
I also included a fashion plate showing the back of a man’s wig. This is from the Maciet Collection, dated from 1773-1786, and it shows elaborate curls on the sides of the wig and a bag at the back. The man is wearing a hat, so the wig is low.
Finally, there’s a print (of dubious accuracy) showing Leonard himself. It’s from a website in Italian, about the opera that Leonard helped start. He was granted a theater license by the queen, which he used or possibly sold to another entrepreneur. I’ve found various references to the story of his involvement with the opera, and it’s all a bit convoluted. But I can’t find other images that seem to be Leonard, and I can’t find any documentation for this image. Still, it *looks* plausible…