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Make-up applicator

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    19th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (maker)

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Caroline Thomas

  • Museum number:

    S.22-1998

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The use of a hare or rabbit's foot as a powder applicator is well-established in theatre history, its shape and texture providing an excellent means of applying make-up. In 1877 the authors of the first comprehensive manual of stage make-up entitled How to Make-Up. A Practical Guide to the Art of Making Up, for Amateurs etc. were given as: 'Haresfoot and Rouge'.

In The Road to the Stage (1827), the earliest account of the use of make-up in the English theatre, its author Leman Thomas Rede describes how to apply pigment on the face over a greasy base, and then: 'touch the cheek with a little hair powder, which will set the colour, and then lay on the verlimion and carmine. A rabbit's foot is better than anything else for distributing the paint equally.' Today the hare or rabbit's foot has been replaced by brushes.

Physical description

Hare's foot, with traces of make-up

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)

Date

19th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown (maker)

Marks and inscriptions

'R.Thomas'
Written information. On fabric of base.

Object history note

This hare's foot belonged to the donor's mother (born 1898), a keen amateur actress, who was given it by an older relative.

Descriptive line

'Hare's foot' powder applicator

Categories

Entertainment & Leisure; Personal accessories

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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