Robert Walker Macbeth
A Sacrifice (only a woman's hair)
SCARCE Etching. Signed proof on Japanese Vellum 1883.
Plate size 15 5/8 x 22 3/4" ( 39.7 x 57.8 cm.) unmounted, with blind New York Printsellers Association stamp (bottom left).
This scarce impression is signed and titled in graphite beneath the plate Robert W. Macbeth Published by Lefevre 12 May 1883.
Ref. AR38 /DNN/ l.andl SVL PRICE CODE D Click here for price code guide
The setting is the inner room of a seventeenth century wig and periwig makers shop. A poor young woman forced by penury necessity, judging by the state of her dress, is about to make a huge sacrifice to fashion and the beauty. For parting with her beautiful long tresses to which she has obviously been much attached for many years, understandably she is somewhat emotional.
The silver shoe buckled proprietor at least offers her some vestige of dignity as she sits, bodice undone, bonnet and cape discarded, before a screen. The wigmakers assistant cradles a lengthy tress, whilst two apprentices break from their wig-making task to gaze and comment upon it. Before a gilded mirror sit two periwigs on stands.