The Bum Shop

Attributed to R. Rushworth British
Publisher S. W. Fores British

Not on view

By the 1780s the London fashion for high hair had been replaced by an exaggerated female silhouette that featured an inflated bust and enlarged rump, both achieved with the help of props. In this print, fashionable women visit a “Bum Shop” to buy bustles and are shown trying on various models. A young woman by the door in white, who has achieved the desired effect, prepares to leave. The facetious text below, written by the proprietor “Derriere,” assures ladies “to whom Nature in a slovenly moment has been niggardly in her distribution of certain lovely Endowments” that he has become expert at “artfully supplying this necessary appendage of female excellence." A small poodle clipped to imitate the fashion underscores the satirical tone.
Other writers of the period describe fashionable ladies wearing a "fashionable circumvallation of tow and whalebone" and "protruberances on the hips called bustlers, another behind...called in plain language a rump, and a merry-thought of wire on the breast to puff out a handkerchief like a pouting pigeon."

The Bum Shop, Attributed to R. Rushworth (British, active 1785–86), Hand-colored etching

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