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 how cave men shaved, 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 Gallerys collections and archives, Lucinda 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 hair in the 1960s and the most recent fashion for facial hair in the twenty-first century. Lively and engaging feature pages include The Samson Complex (the link between facial hair and masculinity), Tricks of the Trade (how barbers have made money when the beard has been in vogue) and 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 whiskers, beards and moustaches.