Moustaches, Whiskers & Beards



Publication Date: 20 October 2014
Price: £10
ISBN: 978 1 85514 493 4
Format: 190 x 170mm (P)
Illustrations: 105 b/w and colour
Extent: 144pp
Binding: Paperback with flaps
Category: History/Humour/Art/Gift
Word Count: Approx 20,000 words

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By Lucinda Hawksley

Since time immemorial, men have grown, trimmed, shaped and used the hair on their faces to make social, religious and fashion statements. The National Portrait Gallery holds hundreds of images of bearded, whiskered and moustached men (as well as the occasional bearded woman) – images that form the basis of this entertaining and informative pogonographic exploration.


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 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 Gallery’s 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 Widdowes Treasure’ (a sixteenth-century book that contains a recipe ‘to make the haire of the bearde grow’), ‘Record Breakers’ (the world’s longest moustache and beard) and ‘Women and Facial Hair’, and there are 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 moustaches, whiskers and beards.

Movember 2014: Follow our new Moustaches, Beards and Whiskers tour!


Lucinda Hawksley is an award-winning author, art historian and travel writer, with a special interest in literature and art from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Her books include Lizzie Siddal: The Tragedy of a Pre-Raphaelite Supermodel; March, Women, March; 50 British Artists You Should Know; and The Mystery of Princess Louise: Queen Victoria’s Rebellious Daughter. She is a great-great-great-granddaughter of Charles Dickens, and wrote the definitive, illustrated guide to her famous ancestor and his works to commemorate the bicentenary of his birth in 2012. Lucinda is a Patron of the Charles Dickens Museum in London – and was recently made Patron of the Norwegian Pickwick Club!