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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:


  • 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 Today the hare or rabbit's foot has been replaced by brushes.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)


19th century (made)


Unknown (maker)

Marks and inscriptions

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


Entertainment & Leisure; Personal accessories


Theatre and Performance Collection

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