(Here is a selection of links and commentary from a large Jane Austen page with lots of visual documents from the time (including some wonderful drawings by Ingres, delightful prints of the latest fashions, dances and parlour games. The skimpily clad girls looked a lot sexier than their Victorian granddaughters...).
Below are only the links to the cartoons (or caricatures, as they were known then).
Anon - 'Strechit'
early 19th century, commenting on a few young females who were daring enough to ride astride, rather than sidesaddle - (Part of the intended humor is suposed to come from the confrontation between the genteel, though "fast" young lady and the salty British tar.) -
Young lady: 'Pray, Sir, is this the way to Stretchit?'
Signpost: 'To Stretchit'
Sailor: 'Shiver my top-sails, my Lass, if I know a better way.'
"A section of The Petticoat, or The Venus of 1742 and 1794"
(English engraving, presumably from 1794, comparing fashion silhouettes of the two years; the left half is taken from a detail in the Hogarth painting "Taste in High Life", engraved 1746)
Text on the left: "The Mode - 1742 - Hogarth pinxit - from a picture of Hogarth's in the Collection of J. B. Esquire"
Text on the right: "The Ton - 1794 - Lady CC...'l pinxit - from an Original (in the Collection) at the Opera" (Notice the high heels that the 1742 lady is wearing.)
"La Walse", caricature from Le Bon Genre
Paris, 1801 (at this time the Waltz was unknown in England, and in Germany and France still had not entirely shed its connotations of being a German peasant dance) On the left: a raffish couple; on the right: German "egghead", and a lady with her feet none too firmly planted.
"La Sauteuse", waltz caricature from Le Bon Genre
1806 (a satire on the craze for imitations of things ancient-Egyptian)
Paris, 1806 - (Intended to caricature the walz as having an abandoned nature, compared to the more decorous dances which had previously prevailed in genteel circles.)
"Les Modernes Incroyables"
satire on would-be fashionable young bucks of the day, from Caricatures Parisiennes, 1810
1810 - caricature of how various fashions (including women's bonnets, along with male hats and high collars) seemed to hide the face ("Invisible" is the French word for a poke bonnet) (This scan courtesy Bob Whitworth of PrintsGeorge.Com.)
Englishmen after dinner ("L'après-Dinée des Anglais")
1814 French satire on gentlemen taking liberties in the dining room after the ladies have withdrawn to the drawing room
English ladies after dinner ("Les Dames Anglaises Après-Diné")
1814 French satire of ladies in the drawing room
(Women ogling kilt-wearing young souldier)
The Regency Cat Lady
(caricature published in Vienna, 1815)
A hobby horse built for four
1st woman: "Vy, Poll, this beats the Delly!!" ["delly"="dilly", a shortening of "Diligence", which is an older and foreign word for "stagecoach"] "Vy, Poll, it's capsized" [Using the nautical word "capsize" instead of normal "overturn"]
2nd woman: "And we have capsized a Dandy"
1st sailor: "D--n it Jack, this is rare sailing without a wind"
2nd sailor: "A very pretty invention, Tom!" "D--n it we shall run down the Dandy!"
Dandy: "Curse you, you tarpauling!" ["tarpaulin"="sailor"] "Wy don't you mind how you steer?"
French satire on the poke bonnet ("invisible")
No. 16 in the series of engravings, "Le Supreme Bon Ton" (from the second half of the 1810's) Caption: "Les Invisibles en Tête-a-Tête"
A satirical engraving of the quaint English custom of "wife-selling"
, which wasn't quite what it sounds like, but was more a ritual among the non-genteel classes (who couldn't possibly obtain a full parliamentary divorce according to the pre-1857 laws), to publicly proclaim a dissolution of marriage (though not one that was really recognized by the authorities of Church and State). 1820 English caricature (even though the sign says "Marché de Bêtes à Cornes") ( Notice how the artist has arranged things so that the cattle's horns are strategically placed in line-of-sight behind the husband's head.
Facial expression study
(chalk sketch, probably from the early 1820's)
A millinery shop in Paris
1822; the lady is giving directions on the making of her new bonnet, while her husband is ogling the shopgirls; the assistant isn't wearing so many layers of petticoats that she can't grip her bonnetmaker's dummy firmly between her knees
Satire on the beaked bonnet
by "Cham" (Amédée de Noé); probably drawn in the 1840's, but apparently depicting the fashions of the early 1820's
'Female Opinions on Military Tactics', Sept. 30 1790
Rustic Couple: Wife: "I have made good the Accident of last night, -- and now John, though thee dost not look very like a Soldier, there shall not be a man in the Regiment with a better Ramrod."
Old Couple: Husband: "I can't conceive what is the matter with my Old Gun. I can't do any thing with it."
Wife: "It's owing to the Cock, my Dear; it has been so a long time!!"
Third Couple: Man: "Is not that very Gentlemanly and upright."
Young Lady: "Yes, and I hope you will always continue so. I doat upon everything upright."
Fourth Couple: Man: "Oh -- had you but seen me Fire last night; I astonish'd every Lady on the ground. I don't think I wink'd once during the whole evening."
Woman: "I am happy to hear you improve in any thing -- I had almost given you up, I assure you.
Fifth Couple: Husband: "A mere Flash in the pan, as I am a Gentleman and a Soldier!"
Wife: "That's nothing uncommon my Dear -- the only way is to try again."
Sixth Couple: Husband: "Bring me the Hammer, Wife -- I want to make an improvement in my Tailpipe."
Wife: "That I will, my Dear; I love improvements of any kind."
Seventh Couple: Young Man: "This, Miss, is what we call the Cock -- and this is the Swell."
Young Miss: "Well, I never knew so much of a Musket before -- how I should like to marry a soldier!"
Eighth Couple: Onlooker: "That a Military tail? I would not give a farthing for a Cart-load of them! I am told it is his Majesty's orders that every Gentleman Soldier in this Village shall at least have a tail of nine inches, to set a good example."
"Parisian Ladies in their Full Winter Dress for 1800"
(exaggerated satirical print by Isaac Cruikshank, Nov. 24th 1799)
(attributed) - "Crying for a New Toy"
Jan. 25th 1803 - portrays Napoleon's planned coronation in a rather undignified light
Nurse -- "Well Child, you shall have it, but I don't think you'll be a bit better for it, nor quieter when you've got it." Nappy -- "I will have it, I will, or else I'll cry -- give me the Crown!" (Torn picture of "the world" and broken crowns and scepters litter the floor.)
"Tom, Jerry, and Logic Making the Most of an Evening in Vauxhall"
by Robert and George Cruikshank, from Pierce Egan's Life in London (1821)
"Sporting a Toe among the Corinthians at Almacks in the West"
from Pierce Egan's Life in London (1821)
"Monstrosities of 1822"
- satirizing the manners and modes of 1822 Here Cruikshank wildly exaggerates recent high-fashion trends of the time, including the incipient trend towards recorseting.
(Detail) Napoleon and his officers reviewing their troops on the retreat from Moscow Nov. 1812
May 27th 1813, based on a Russian print.
"Longitude and Latitude of St. Petersburgh"
Countess Lieven waltzing at Almack's, May 13th 1813
THE BERKELEY SLIP, or a Lesson for Spinsters
by (George or Robert?) Cruikshank, 1816 (probably an allusion to some specific event or gossip)
Caption: "Not one false Slip entirely damns her Fame." Trust not to Man, however Debonair, Nor trust your bottoms on a slippery Chair.
Brother: 'Oho, I am afraid I have interrupted you!'
Suitor: 'No, No, only a-going... Nothing criminal, upon my honor. Just going to Kiss Mary a little.'
Mary: 'No, brother, the Gentleman was only going to behave genteely.'
"The inconveniences of a crowded drawing room"
famous caricature by George Cruikshank, May 6th 1818
Illustration and partial text from "Neckclothitania or Tietania, being an essay on Starchers, by One of the Cloth"
published by J.J. Stockdale, Sept. 1st. 1818
"An Interesting scene, on board an East-Indiaman, showing the Effects of a heavy Lurch, after dinner"
Nov. 9th 1818, after a drawing by Captain Frederick Marryat
The sailor on the right is saying "My precious eyes, Tom!!! here's a smash!! !! -- hold on, my hearties!! hang on by y'r eyelids"
1818 caricature on the artificial Regency beau
A caricature of the Prince Regent
illustrating "The Political House that Jack Built" by William Hone (1819)
"The English Ladies' Dandy Toy"
1818, somewhat symbolic caricature showing a type of toy popular at the time
"Blind Man's Buff"
ca. 1824 (showing festive jollities and frolics in an English household)
"The Dandy Club"
Dec. 29th 1818
"A Milling Match Between Decks"
A print that will make you wish you lived in the Regency, when things were decorous and elegant! , -July 13th 1812. (A caricature satirizing situations which arose in some navy ships when officers appeased the seamen by turning a blind eye to indulgences below decks -- especially allowing women who were not the sailors' wives to freely come on board when a ship was in port)
The devotee of terpsichore on the left is saying "I love a bit of hop -- Life is ne'er the worse for it when in my way do drop a Fiddle -- that's your sort." and the pugilistic spectator on the right is saying "Now Jack -- Brail up his peepers or Mungo will tip you yankey-doodle-doo." ("Hop" = "dance", "brail" nautical for "to haul up a sail", "peepers" = "eyes". The name "Mungo" is probably at least as much in honor of Scottish explorer Mungo Park as it is authentically African.)
"Love-à-la-mode, or Two dear friends"
early 19th-century - reportedly depicting a scandalous rumour told about Emma, Lady Hamilton (Nelson's mistress), and Queen Maria Carolina of Naples (presumably the the lady on the left, who seems to be wearing some kind of coronet or crown beneath the feathers in her headdress). Two men spy out the situation in some distate, from behind some bushes.
One lady to the other: "Little does he imagine that he has a female rival"
Nautical gentleman (Nelson?): "What is to be done to put a stop to this disgraceful Business?"
Other gentleman: "Take her from W???"
'Leaving Off Powder, or A Frugal Family Saving the Guinea'
March 10th 1795 caricature, on the results of the new tax on hair-powder. The mother is trying on a new unpowdered wig, the daughter is disconsolately surveying in a mirror the effect of her new unpowdered hair style, the father is standing with his back to the fire in an unpowdered wig and reading a Gazette -- the first page of which says "New Taxes", and the second page "Bankruptcies" -- and the extremely dandified son isn't wearing a wig at all. The very powdered Charles II looks down from the wall
A fashion prediction of 1796: "Ladies Dress, as it soon will be --"
Jan 20th, 1796, after a drawing by "Henry C----e"
"Lady Godina's Rout -- or -- Peeping-Tom spying out Pope-Joan. Vide Fashionable Modesty"
March 12th 1796 - An exaggerated satire on the extremes of classical-influenced styles which were very new and cutting edge in England at that time. The caricature is said to refer to Lady Georgiana Gordon; the title, as well as the servant lecherously peering down while trimming the candle, are allusions to the Lady Godiva legend. "Pope-Joan" is a cardgame -- see http://www.trussel.com/maig/pope.htm for information on the game; Lady "Godina" is holding the nine of diamonds which is called the "Pope" in the game. (This scan courtesy Bob Whitworth of PrintsGeorge.Com.)
"The Comforts of a Rumford Stove"
June 12th 1800 - caricature of Rumford (who was an American, Benjamin Thompson, awarded the title of "Count Rumford" by the elector of Bavaria), standing before his famous invention, the Rumford grate (popularized by his 1796 essay on "Chimney fireplaces", and mentioned in Northanger Abbey)
According to the inscription, this was drawn ad virum (i.e. in Rumford's presence).
Engraving satirizing young ladies' "accomplishments"
(drawing of a prosperous farmer's family 1809)
1810 adaptation by Gillray of the earlier French waltz caricature - (At this time the Waltz was very new in England, and considered rather scandalous, because of the way the gentleman's arm encircles the lady's waist as part of the dance.)
Detail from "The Three Graces in A High Wind"
semi-satirical engraving (reportedly from 1810, perhaps originally drawn earlier) (Imagine a wind blowing from the right; its effects on the women's clothing would seem funny to a generation that had been accustomed to skirts stiffened with more layers of petticoats.)
"Corinthian Steamers, or Costumes and Customs of 1824"
Feb. 26 1824 caricature by W. Heath. This shows the very beginnings of the transition from Regency to Victorian with respect to facial hair and smoking (both of which were considered outlandish and un-English during the Regency, and are ridiculed here, but later would come to be considered highly respectable during the Victorian period)
Caption: Flaming dandy (2nd from left): "Fire! Fire! oh Dear, my best Mustacios will be quite Destroyd!"
Alarmed dandy (next to left): "Fire! Fire!"
Irish fireman (at left): "My Master, I must fetch our Engine to put out your Steam Engine"
At the right of the image a dandy is blowing smoke in a lady's face, in flagrant violation of the etiquette of the time (in which smoking was mostly not done indoors at all, and never in the presence of ladies). Caption is "Fond of Steaming Ladies! do you smoke it, eh!" (The steam engine was a shiny new technology in 1824, so smokers are jocularly compared to steam-engines...) Moustaches were associated with foreign (continental European) and military influences at the time (and so had a secondary association with conspicuous dandyism), while beards were totally out of fashion (generally only a few elderly working-class people and invalids would have had them).
Two of spades, depicting a mother-daughter dialogue
,from an 1803 draft design by for the "Metastasis Transformation" pack of playing cards (London).
``Ah Child, when I was at your Age, I never had occasion to go abroad for admirers, the young Fellows used to give me as a toast. Fanny the fair and prodigiously clever at all kinds of curious Work.. that I was..''
``Lord Mamma, I have heard that so often.''
"A Peep at the Gas-lights in Pall Mall"
reactions to installation of the new invention of gas-lighting on Pall-Mall, London, by Rowlandson, 1809 (mediocre-quality image)
Well-informed gentleman: "The Coals being steam'd produces tar or paint for the outside of Houses -- the Smoke passing thro' water is deprived of substance and burns as you see."
Irishman: "Arragh honey, if this man bring fire thro water we shall soon have the Thames and the Liffey burnt down -- and all the pretty little herrings and whales burnt to cinders."
Rustic bumpkin: "Wauns, what a main pretty light it be: we have nothing like it in our Country."
Quaker: "Aye, Friend, but it is all Vanity: what is this to the Inward Light?"
Shady Female: "If this light is not put a stop to -- we must give up our business. We may as well shut up shop."
Shady Male: "True, my dear: not a dark corner to be got for love or money."
ca. 1811, mainly satirizing various types of lower-class boisteriousness and carousing in Portsmouth harbor
"Lady Godina's Rout -- or -- Peeping-Tom spying out Pope-Joan. Vide Fashionable Modesty"
Coach(?) and six, with a "box" in front and "basket" behind (1798)
1806 (a satire on the craze for imitations of things ancient-Egyptian)
In the Morning Chronicle in 1805, a lady complained that 'since this accursed Egyptian style came into fashion... my eldest boy rides on a sphinx instead of a rocking-horse, my youngest has a papboat in the shape of a crocodile, and my husband has built a watercloset in the shape of a pyramid, and has his shirts marked with a lotus.'
A view of "Ackermann's Repository of Arts, 101 Strand"
an illustration by Pugin and Rowlandson to the magazine Ackermann's Repository of Arts, Literature, Commerce, January 1809 . Rudolph Ackermann was a publisher, print-seller, and "manufacturer of fancy articles" (e.g. screens, card racks, flower stands).
Trevithick's steam locomotive
as an attraction for paying customers in London's Euston Square; watercolour by Rowlandson, 1809
Coach(?) and six, with a "box" in front and "basket" behind
Dr. Syntax plays the fiddle at a village dance
from The Tour of Dr. Syntax In Search of the Picturesque, 1810)
Dr. Syntax in village harvest procession
"The Merry Ship's Crew, or Nautical Philosophers"
a satirical caricature on severe naval discipline, from the late 1810's [Mediocre-quality scan]
Caption: Captain: "Well, Mate! Just come on shore? How did you leave the ship's crew?"
Mate: "Why Captain, I left them all to a man the merriest fellows in the world -- I flogged seventeen of them as your Honor commanded, and they are happy it is over; and the rest are happy because they have escaped."
"For all the happiness mankind can gain,
"Is not in pleasure, but in rest from pain." -- Dryden
"The Fashions of the Day, or Time Past and Present"
1807 - engraved by Charles Williams after a drawing by Woodward, which presents an (exaggerated) contrast between "The Year 1740: A Lady's full dress of Bombazeen" and "The year 1807: ..." (well, you can read the rest yourself)
Note that "undress" didn't mean anything naughty -- you can read a definition of it at Cathy's Regency fashion pages. In pursuing his goal of satirizing certain features of contemporary 1807 fashions, the caricaturist did not really draw a fair comparison between the styles of 1740 and 1807, since a young Regency fashionable is juxtaposed here to a sedate middle-aged pre-Regency lady (perhaps in mourning), and such features of mid-18th century dress as tight stiff stays with extremely low necklines were not included (also, the "1740" costume actually seems to be somewhat of a pastiche with 17th century styles). Women's fashions of the Regency weren't always "sensible", but their excesses do seem to be more in accord overall with the spirit of the 20th century than the fashion excesses of most other periods between the 16th century and World War I (which tended to go in for such things as huge hoopskirts and tight corsets...)
"TOO MUCH and TOO LITTLE, or Summer Cloathing of 1556 & 1796"
satirical print by Isaac Cruikshank after drawing by George M. Woodward, February 8th 1796
"Squatting plump on an unexpected cat in your chair!!"
detail of an engraving by Isaac Cruikshank after a drawing by Woodward, ca. 1808 (part of a series on "Miseries of Human Life")