Monday, November 10, 2014

The Most Beautiful Man in the World, According to Him

Monday, November 10, 2014
Loretta reports:

In Vixen in Velvet, I mention in connection with Vauxhall a gentleman who called himself “The Ærial”.  His real name was Joseph Leeming, and he’s a treat.  The 9 November entry in Hone’s Every-day Book dealing with him is long but well worth reading in its entirety. Below are some excerpts.
Vauxhall Orchestra
[Quoting from the 2 July 1825 Times] “An individual in a splendid dress of Spanish costume has excited much attention at Vauxhall gardens  Having walked or rather skipped round the promenade, with a great air of consequence, saluting the company as he passed along, he at length mingled amongst the audience in the front of the orchestra, and distributed a number of cards, on each of which was written, ‘The Ærial challenges the whole world to find a man that can in any way compete with him as such.’”
He conceives that he is the most beautiful person in the world, and hence besides calling himself “the Ærial”, the “New Discovery,” and “the Great Unknown,” he adds “the Paragon of Perfection,” “the Phoenix,” “the God of Beauty,” and “the Grand Arcana of Nature.”   ... “Apollo is nothing compared with me; there is no figure to compete with me in any respect, except the Achilles in the park, which may be somewhat like me in the under part of the foot upon the ground.

Images:  The Ærial, from my copy of Hone’s Every-day Book, Vol 1.
Vauxhall Gardens, by Pugin & Rowlandson, from Ackermann’s Microcosm of London courtesy Internet Archive.  You can see a much more beautifully colored, enlargeable-to-gigantic version of this image here at Spitalfields Life.

Clicking on the image will enlarge it.  Clicking on the captions will allow you to read at the source, where you can learn more and enlarge images as needed.


GSGreatEscaper said...

The Ryan Gosling of his day...

Two Nerdy History Girls. Design by Pocket