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The Macaroni

  • Object:

    Satirical drawing

  • Place of origin:

    England (probably, painted)

  • Date:

    1774 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Grimm, Samuel Hieronymus (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour

  • Museum number:

    P.39-1939

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level H, case PD, shelf 310

The term ‘Macaroni’ arose in the middle of the 18th century. It referred to wealthy young men who wore the elaborate style of dress that they had seen during their ‘Grand Tour’ of Europe. In the 18th century many noblemen and gentlemen went on the Grand Tour to complete their education. The aim was to see the great sights of Europe, especially those in Italy.

The name ‘Macaroni’ was probably taken from the Macaroni Club, a fashionable dining society that specialised in foreign foods such as macaroni. This watercolour may also be connected with the second use of the Italian word ‘maccherone’, meaning a fool. It is possible that the principal figure is Charles Douglas, 3rd Duke of Queensbury (1698-1778).

Physical description

Watercolour drawing entitled 'The Macaroni' depicting a grotesque figure in fine dress, standing alone at a garden party, with a gentleman and three ladies with fans smiling in the background. One of the ladies is painted entirely in blue.

Place of Origin

England (probably, painted)

Date

1774 (painted)

Artist/maker

Grimm, Samuel Hieronymus (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour

Dimensions

Height: 17.2 cm, Width: 14.7 cm

Descriptive line

Watercolour drawing by Samuel Hieronymus Grimm entitled 'The Macaroni'. Great Britain, 1774.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Tim Batchelor, Cedar Lewisohn, Martin Myrone Rude Britannia: British Comic Art London: Tate Publishing, 2010. ISBN: 9781854378866.
William Hauptman, Samuel Hieronymus Grimm (1733-1794) : a very English Swiss Milan : 5 Continents Editions, 2014. ISBN: 9788874396627
P. 110-1
Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design & Department of Paintings, Accessions 1939, published under the Authority of the Ministry of Education, London, 1950

Labels and date

[Provisional label written by Ronald Parkinson for his travelling exhibition and accompanying book British Watercolours at the Victoria and Albert Museum, V&A Publications, 1998.]

Samuel Hieronymous GRIMM (1733-1794)
THE MACARONI 1774
Signed and dated by the artist S.H.Grimm fecit 1774
17.2 x 14.7 cm
Purchased 1939
P.39-1939

The phenomenon of the 'Macaroni' arose in the middle of the eighteenth century: they were wealthy young men who affected the elaborate style of dress they had seen on the continent during their 'Grand Tour' of Europe. The name was probably taken from the Macaroni Club, a fashionable dining society which catered for such young men and specialised in foreign foods such as macaroni. Horace Walpole wrote in a letter of 6 February 1764 that the club was 'composed of all the travelled young men who wear long curls and spying-glasses'. Another dimension in this watercolour may be connected with the second use of the Italian word 'maccherone', meaning a fool. It is possible that the principal figure is the third Duke of Queensbury (1698-1778).

Grimm was born in Switzerland, and settled in London in1765. He specialised in topographical landscapes (see no...), but occasionally produced caricatures and humorous subjects which mocked the extremes of high society of his day. []

Materials

Watercolour

Techniques

Watercolour drawing

Subjects depicted

Fans; Caricature; Figures

Categories

Drawings; Paintings; Satire; Caricatures & Cartoons; Men's clothes; Fashion; Clothing

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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