You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Mousy Eyebrows

I'm participating in an A to Z blog hop. This week's letter is "E."

Gainsborough’s portrait of Grace Dalrymple Elliot
in 1782 shows the craze for dark eyebrows.
During the third quarter of the 18th century, dark eyebrows became all the rage for women.

Over time, lead-based cosmetics caused hair loss at the forehead and over the brows, resulting in a receding hairline and a bare brow.
You want my fur for what?!!
It became the custom as early as 1703 to trap mice and use their fur for artificial eyebrows, which were glued on. Sometimes, the glue did not adhere well, which I think would make a fabulous scene in a novel.  (Hm-m, I'll have to think about that.)

In 1718, Matthew Prior wrote a poem about eyebrows. Here’s the last stanza:

On little things, as sages write,
Depends our human joy or sorrow;
If we don’t catch a mouse to-night,
Alas! no eyebrows for to-morrow.


  1. Fascinating! And gross at the same time. Did they not realize the diseases mice carried? That would make a hilarious scene in a novel. Please use it!

    1. J'nell, I'll keep the scene in mind. I'm giggling just thinking about it.. :-)

  2. What a fun piece of trivia. I have enough experience with attempting to glue mustaches on actors to know how likely loose eyebrows would be. Yikes!

    1. Thanks, Lisa. If you've worked in theater, I bet you have some stories to tell.

  3. This is something new to me, very interesting!
    Not only is the mouse hair a yuck factor,
    but what about all that lead in the make-up?
    I always assumed that their eyebrows stood
    out because of their natural color, compared
    to the powdered wigs.

  4. Yuck is right, Kathleen. The fashion in the mid-1700s was for very pale skin and a waifish look. Women would draw over their veins with a blue pencil to make their skin look transparent.

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