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"Archers", an April 1799 "pin-up" type print, engraved after a drawing by Adam Buck, and with a dedication to the Prince Regent. At the time, archery was one of the few competitive sports that adult women of the "genteel" classes could respectably engage in (others were battledore/shuttlecock -- a precursor to badminton -- and for a tiny social elite, old-fashioned "court tennis").

For discussion of ca. 1800 "pin-up" prints, see image description page Image:1800-jumprope-pinup-Sophia-Western.jpg .

What might not be obvious from a 21st-century point of view is that in 1799 the loosely-flowing unbound hair of the two ladies on the left would have been somewhat titillating in the eyes of the males of the day. At the time, grown-up women did not leave their hair completely free-flowing in public (but generally covered, ornamented, or confined their hair in some way, usually binding it up in back), so that unbound hair had a sexual charge because it was associated with the intimacy or privacy of the boudoir.

For a more sober depiction of women archers, see File:1823 Royal British Bowmen archery club.jpg.


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