Ten Victorian Sensation moustaches for Movember

It’s day ten of Movember. A deceptively simple play on the word November, a simple change of a letter that has prompted a big change in people’s behaviour during this winter month.

A month where men around the world are encouraged to grow and groom moustaches (no beards, no goatees), for charity. Since 2003 Movember has inspired millions of people to join the global movement to bring men’s health issues to public attention and raise money for men’s health programmes. 

11. Movember
A mysterious #VictorianSensation moustache, worn by an unknown gentleman and taken by an unknown photographer. From the Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland.

I think that is worthy of a small celebration and decided to explore the collections in our Photography: A Victorian Sensation exhibition to find some delectable moustaches. I’ve selected ten moustaches that I think would definitely gain ‘mo bro’ status if they had been grown this November. 

  1. Striking twists moustache

There are some striking end twists in this bushy moustache and I think these make it worthy of our number 1 ‘mo bro’ spot. This carte-de-visite was taken by Alexander Bassano in London.

Carte-de-visite depicting gentleman with moustache, by Alexander Bassano, 72 Picadilly, London
Carte-de-visite depicting gentleman with moustache, by Alexander Bassano, 72 Picadilly, London. From the Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland.

2. Two scenic moustaches

These two are my striking second choice. These dashing fellows are a good reminder to take some fun photographs in picturesque spots with any freshly grown moustaches. This car scene is set against a backdrop of Princes Street and the Scott Monument in Edinburgh.

Cabinet portrait depicting two unidentified men seated in studio with car against the backdrop of Princes Street, Edinburgh and the Scott Monument, by W. Lees, Portobello, Edinburgh
Cabinet portrait depicting two unidentified men, by W. Lees, Portobello, Edinburgh. From the Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland.

3. David Octavius Hill’s moustache

So this ‘mo bro’ might be cheating slightly, as he has grown the full beard as well! However, I thought that the mighty moustache of David Octavius Hill should take number 3. Hill is featured in this calotype taken by Dr John Adamson. Hill and Adamson began collaborating in 1843. They began to take photographs of Newhaven fisherfolk, historic places in and around Edinburgh, and portraits of interesting people. They made about 3,000 images between 1843 and January 1848, when Adamson died aged only 27.

Calotype, albumen print from a wet collodion negative, David Octavius Hill, by Dr John Adamson, 1860
Calotype, albumen print from a wet collodion negative, David Octavius Hill, by Dr John Adamson, 1860. From the Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland.

4. Four flowing moustaches

I love the variety of moustaches in this tintype from an unknown photographer’s studio. According to the Movember Moustache style guide, I think we may have ‘The Trucker’, ‘The Box Car’ and two ‘Undercover Brothers’ featured here.

4. Movember
From the Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland.

5. Dr David Livingstone’s moustache

As this delightful carte-de-visite of Dr David Livingstone shows, he sported a rather wonderful moustache. Born into a hard-working family in Blantyre, Lanarkshire, on 19 March 1813. Livingstone was a famous missionary and explorer who spent 30 years in Africa. During that time he travelled over 46,000km, mostly on foot, discovering previously unknown wonders and vastly increasing European knowledge of the geography of the continent.

Carte-de-visite depicting Dr David Livingstone, famous missionary and explorer, by Thomas Annan, Glasgow
Carte-de-visite depicting Dr David Livingstone taken by Thomas Annan, Glasgow. From the Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland.

6. Meticulous moustache

I don’t know much about this Victorian gentleman, but perhaps he won those medals for his meticulous moustache? This carte-de-visite was taken by Joseph Whitlock (1806 – 1857) in Birmingham.

Carte-de-visite depicting athletic man wearing medals by Joseph Whitlock, Birmingham
Carte-de-visite depicting athletic man wearing medals by Joseph Whitlock, Birmingham. From the Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland.

7. Mystery Moustache

These images are from a series of the same British family on holiday over a number of years. If you look closely, time is passing, the boys are getting older, a sister arrives and ages, yet the father’s impressive moustache remains constant the whole time! It’s thought that the resort is Margate, but little is known about this photographic family. These tintypes are by an unknown photographer, 1880s – 1890s.

15. movember comp
From the Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland.

8. Accessorised moustache

I like the hat and scarf that accompany this moustache; it gives the gentleman a different style and edge. This carte-de-visite was taken by photographer Monsieur A. Boucher in Brighton.

Carte-de-visite depicting head and shoulders of a man in hat, by Monsieur A. Boucher, Brighton
Carte-de-visite depicting head and shoulders of a man in a hat, by Monsieur A. Boucher, Brighton. From the Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland.

9. Royal moustache

This carte-de-visite is entitled ‘The Late HRH The Duke of Clarence & Avondale’ and was taken by the London Stereoscopic & Photographic Company in London.  Again the fine moustache is accompanied by some fine accessories.

5. Movember - royal
Carte-de-visite by the London Stereoscopic & Photographic Company, London. From the Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland.

10. Henry James Byron’s moustache

My final ‘mo bro’ mention goes to this exquisite Movember look here from the English playwright and actor Henry James Byron, second cousin to the poet Lord Byron. It’s a top hat and tails that accompany this moustache.  This slightly coloured albumen print from a wet collodion negative was taken at the studio of Alexander Bassano, 122 Regent Street, London.

Slightly coloured albumen print from a wet collodion negative depicting Henry J. Byron, taken at the studio of Alexander Bassano, 122 Regent Street, London, 1866 - 1876
Slightly coloured albumen print depicting Henry J. Byron, taken at the studio of Alexander Bassano, 122 Regent Street, London, 1866 – 1876. From the Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland.

So it seems that the Victorians had some fabulous facial hair and brilliant moustaches.


Movember definitions.

  1. Mo | Moustache
  2. Mo Bro | A man who grows a moustache for Movember, or makes a commitment to MOVE

 

All of these images feature in our Photography: A Victorian Sensation exhibition, which is showing until the 22 November at the National Museum of Scotland. 

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