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'The Five Orders of Perriwigs'

6 of 82 portraits of Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

'The Five Orders of Perriwigs', by William Hogarth, published 1761 - NPG D21370 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

'The Five Orders of Perriwigs'

by William Hogarth
etching, published 1761
11 5/8 in. x 8 1/4 in. (295 mm x 210 mm) paper size
Reference Collection
NPG D21370


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Artistback to top

  • William Hogarth (1697-1764), Painter and engraver. Artist associated with 125 portraits, Sitter associated with 19 portraits.

Sittersback to top

This portraitback to top

Wigs dominated male costume from half way through the seventeenth century until the 1790s. The 'fullbottomed' wigs worn by the Kit-Cats were made of curled and frizzed human hair sewn into net caps. Such expensive items displayed the wearer's wealth and status as they needed daily combing and powdering by a barber or valet. Fashions in wigs changed over time. As men shaved their heads, when at home they swapped their wigs for soft caps. Being painted wearing a 'nightcap' was the height of confident informality.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG D33303: 'The Five Orders of Perriwigs' (from same plate)