Today the U.S. Figure Skating Association concluded their National Championships for another year, with extremely talented young athletes making all those jumps, spirals, and spins look effortlessly elegant.
That description does not apply to the dandies in this print.
Doubtless with visions of that same effortless elegance, these young fellow have dressed to the nines to venture out on the ice. In the early 19th c., skating was a wonderful way to put one's self on display to admiring ladies, as well as to one another. But while these gentlemen have taken care that their neckcloths are perfectly pleated and their collars high over their years, they forgot that skating is anything but easy, and the results are not pretty. As one of them cries as he topples to the ice, "Oh Lord! How they are laughing at us!" (As always, click on the image to enlarge it.)
So while the title of this print may be Skaiting-Dandies, Shewing Off, I'm afraid the the only thing they're showing is their perfect dandified silliness.
Loretta and I both have a weakness for dandies. For more of their mishaps, see here, here, and here.
Above: Skaiting-Dandies, Shewing Off, by Charles Williams, 1818. Walpole Library, Yale University.