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Title: The Art of Tying the Cravat; Demonstrated in sixteen lessons

Author: H. Le Blanc

Release date: October 25, 2018 [eBook #58166]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by deaurider and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive)




Ingrey & Madeley, Lithog. 310 Strand.

A Pocket Manual;

And exemplifying the advantage arising from an elegant
arrangement of this important part of the Costume;

And remarks on its influence on Society in general.

By H. LE BLANC, Esq.
With explanatory Plates, and a Portrait of the Author

“Nothing is more laudable than an enquiry after truth.”





Ingrey and Madeley, Printers, 310, Strand.



No one accustomed to mix with the higher classes of society will be at all inclined to dispute the advantages arising from a genteel appearance; it therefore becomes necessary that the means of acquiring this distinction should be clearly demonstrated. An attentive perusal of the following pages will conduce to this desired effect.

“L’art de mettre sa Cravate est à l’homme du monde ce que l’art de donner à diner est a l’homme d’état.”

The Cravat should not be considered as a mere ornament, it is decidedly one of the greatest preservatives[iv] of health—it is a criterion by which the rank of the wearer may be at once distinguished, and is of itself “a letter of introduction.”

The most fastidious may in this book find a model for imitation, as not only the form, but the colour appropriate to each particular style, is described in the clearest and most comprehensive manner.

It can be incontrovertibly asserted that this work, far from being an ephemeral production, will be found to contain a mass of useful information, and may be termed an “Encyclopædia of knowledge.”

The question whether Cravats were worn by the ancients is satisfactorily decided.

It is fully proved that the Romans used a chin cloth, corresponding almost entirely with the modern Cravat; and that the collar of the[v] ancient Persians, Egyptians, and Greeks was the origin of the Stock of the present day.

In the chapter on black and coloured silk Cravats, it is shewn that the former never obtained greater celebrity than in the last ten years of the eighteenth century, and the first ten of the nineteenth; that is to say, during a term of years replete with events of the greatest political interest.

The work is divided into easy lessons—the first gives a solution of the celebrated problem known as the Nœud Gordien, and is the key to all the others. The fifteenth lesson alone contains eighteen different methods of tying the Cravat: but lest any of our readers may be terrified at the idea of having so much to acquire at once, it may be necessary to observe that as they are derivations from the fourteen first described, they are necessarily short and easy of attainment.

The first and last lessons (Nos. 1 and 16) are[vi] undoubtedly the most important, on account of the precepts, opinions, and incontrovertible truths which they contain. In the concluding chapter the correct construction of the Cravat is proved to be of paramount advantage to the wearer; and the consequences arising from an ignorance of this important subject are pointed out in a manner which cannot fail to convince every enlightened mind.

To render the work complete in every respect, plates, drawn from nature, are inserted; these will clearly explain any difficulty a beginner may experience in comprehending our directions, and will enable him to judge whether he has produced the proper effect on his own Cravat.

In an age like the present, when the man of quality is so closely imitated by the pretender—when the amalgamation of all ranks seems to be the inevitable consequence of the “March of[vii] Intellect” now making such rapid strides amongst us, we think a more signal service cannot be rendered to the higher ranks of society, than by the production of such a work as this; and, in the hope of being really useful, we offer to a discerning public the “Art of Tying on the Cravat.”




No decided opinion can be given of the age in which Cravats were first introduced. The ancients were happily unacquainted with the ridiculous and dangerous fashion of confining the throat in linen, either tied in front or fastened behind with a clasp; this part of the frame was allowed to remain in[10] entire liberty; they, however, defended it from the cold by means of a woollen or silken cloth, called in Rome focalium, a term which is evidently derived from fauces (the throat).

A distinguished Jesuit (the Rev. Father Adam) in his work on Roman antiquities, proves by the most undoubted authority that the Romans made use of chin cloths, for the protection of the neck and throat; these were termed focalia, and the public orators, who from professional considerations were fearful of taking cold, contributed in no small degree to render this fashion general. Some (says the Rev. Father) used a handkerchief (sudarium) for this purpose. This is probably the origin of the Cravat, which is in many countries called “Neckhandkerchief.”

Augustus, who was infirm and sickly, constantly used the focalium when at his own house, or with his friends, but he was never seen in it in public; and Lampridius observes that Alexander Severus made use of it only when returning from the baths to his palace. In Rome the custom of leaving the neck bare was so general, that it was[11] considered beneath the dignity of the man and citizen to protect it in any other way than by the hand, or occasionally wrapping the toga round it.

The throats of our forefathers were for ages as uncovered as their faces; in this respect the descendants of the Sarmatæ have not degenerated, as the Poles during the most severe winter have their throats constantly exposed. The same fashion (which is, however, less surprising) has descended to the Eastern Nations, among whom a white and well turned neck is metaphorically compared to the beauty of a tower of ivory. The Calmucks, Baskirs, and other Tartars of the Don, or the borders of the Caspian Sea, also adhere to this fashion; very few of them, however, merit the Eastern compliment, as their throats are generally ugly and ill-formed. This custom gradually declined in France and several parts of Europe, and luxury, rather than necessity, introduced the fashion of covering the throat loosely with a fine starched linen cloth; this was worn above the shirt, without a collar; the ends were brought down on the breast, and there fastened by laces[12] of thread—from this the idea of bands was derived—before the introduction of the heavy and unhealthy bonds, which at a later period confined the throat, was even dreamt of.

The ruff, stiffened and curled in single or double rows (an inconvenient but harmless ornament), became the favourite in its turn, and continued in fashion while the hair was worn short; but this also fell into disrepute when Louis XIII. allowed his to grow. Then raised collars, plaited neck-cloths, and bands (both plain and of lace), enveloped the throats of our ancestors, from the neck to the chin, and covered the tops of the arms and the shoulders. This fashion continued until Louis XIV. adopted the enormous flaxen or black peruke, which almost concealed the front of the neck. It then gave way to bright coloured ribands arranged in bows, which were also introduced by this gay and gallant monarch, and imitated by every one according to his rank or caprice.

Up to that time, as frivolity alone had reigned, the fashion was not injurious; but the throat, which had hitherto been comparatively free, now[13] lost that liberty which it has never since regained. In 1660 a regiment of Croats arrived in France;—a part of their singular costume excited the greatest admiration, and was immediately and generally imitated; this was a tour de cou, made (for the private soldiers) of common lace, and of muslin or silk for the officers; the ends were arranged en rosette, or ornamented with a button or tuft, which hung gracefully on the breast. This new arrangement, which confined the throat but very slightly, was at first termed a Croat, since corrupted to Cravat. The Cravats of the officers and people of rank were extremely fine, and the ends were embroidered or trimmed with broad lace; those for the lower classes were subsequently made of cloth or cotton, or at the best of black taffeta, plaited; which was tied round the neck by two small strings. These strings were at a later period replaced by clasps, or a buckle, and the Cravat then took the name of Stock.

The Cravat at length became universal, and was increased to an almost incredible size. Some enveloped the neck in entire pieces of muslin; others[14] wore a stitched stiffener, on which several handkerchiefs were folded. By this échafaudage the neck was placed on a level with the head, which in size it surpassed, and with which it was confounded. The shirt collar rose to the side of the ears, and the top of the Cravat covered the mouth and lower part of the nose, so that the face (with the exception of the nose) was concealed by the Cravat and a forest of whiskers; these rose on each side to the hair, which was combed down over the eyes. In this costume the élégans bore a greater resemblance to beasts than men, and the fashion gave rise to many laughable caricatures. They were compelled to look straight before them, as the head could only be turned by general consent of all the members, and the tout ensemble was that of an unfinished statue.

Instances have, however, occurred in which these immense Cravats have saved the lives of the wearers in battle. One fact, as related by Dr. Pizis, may be worthy of record. “I was laughing” (says he) “at General Lepale, on account of his enormous Cravat. At the moment of entering[15] into action his regiment charged, and after dispersing the enemy’s cavalry returned to the bivouac. I was informed that the General had been struck by a pistol shot in the throat. I immediately hastened to his assistance, and was shewn a bullet, which was stopped in its career by the very Cravat I had just been ridiculing.—Two officers and several privates had received sabre cuts on the Cravat, and escaped without injury; so that I was obliged to confess that these immense bandages were not always useless.”

Singers more than any class of persons, should be careful to avoid exposing the throat to the cold, a moderate heat contributes to supple the organs, and renders the voice clearer and more harmonious; though, on the contrary, it is greatly deteriorated if the throat is constrained by a tightened Cravat. No part of the body is more susceptible of cold than the neck; and this susceptibility is the effect of too much covering in general; but in leaving a ball room, or any heated place, the greatest care should be taken to defend the chest and neck from cold.


The natives of the South are but too well acquainted with the danger of such sudden transitions, and the Spaniards particularly, who always wear a large handkerchief hanging carelessly from the neck, invariably wrap themselves in it, when being warm they are suddenly exposed to the cold.

In short, the Cravat has now arrived at the summit of perfection, and has been materially assisted in its progress by the use of starch. The question naturally arises to whom is the world indebted for this sublime invention? To the English, Russians, Italians, or French?—On this point we confess ourselves unable to decide. The blanchisseuses of each of those powers have been mainly instrumental in communicating this important discovery to the world at large.

On our parts, more profound investigations would be unavailing; and it is only by a continued course of laborious research, that it would be possible to remove the obscurity which has enveloped the subject of our labours for so many ages.

[1] “Cravat, from Cravate, which Menage derives from the Croats, a sort of German troops, usually called Croats, from whom, in 1636, this ornament, he adds, was adopted.” Todd’s Johnson’s Dictionary.


Considerations on the origin of Stocks:—their advantages, inconveniences, colours, forms, and fashions.

Although the Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, and nearly all the ancient nations, were unacquainted with the use of Cravats and Stocks, they wore collars, which may reasonably be considered as the avant-couriers of both.

Collars, made of the richest metals, and lined with a soft cloth, were worn, like the modern Stock, to ornament the face and support the chin. The general use of collars amongst the ancients, and Stocks in our own times, would almost prove[18] that when man is left to himself, “his nose is much more inclined to claim acquaintance with the earth,” (to use the expression of a celebrated French author), “than his eyes with the Heavens,” as Buffon asserts.

However that may be, collars have been entirely superseded by the introduction of Stocks: these are in fact collars, though composed of different materials—they form no wrinkle—make but one turn round the neck, and are fastened behind by a buckle or clasps.

Stocks were first introduced as military costume about the commencement of the eighteenth century. Choiseul, minister of war under Louis XV. presented them to the troops in lieu of the Cravat.

These Stocks were made of black horse-hair, tolerably hard, moderately wide, and were only injurious when fastened too tightly. In many regiments, the officers wishing the men to appear healthy, obliged them to tighten the Stock so as almost to produce suffocation, instead of allowing them more nourishing food, or of treating them[19] with more kindness; or, in short, of giving them an opportunity of acquiring that health, the appearance only of which was produced by the tightened stock.

The Stock has ever since formed a part of military costume. Invention has been racked to diversify it as much as possible; and, as appearance alone was consulted, each change has rendered it more injurious; it has been transformed into a collar as hard as iron, by the insertion of a slip of wood, which acting on the larynx, and compressing every part of the neck, caused the eyes almost to start from their spheres, and gave the wearer a supernatural appearance often producing vertigos and faintings, or at least bleeding at the nose. It rarely happened that a field-day passed over without surgical aid being required by one or more soldiers, whose illness was only produced by an over-tightened Stock. As the same kind of Stock was used for necks of all sizes, whether long or short, thin or thick, it rendered the weaver, in many cases, almost immoveable; he was scarcely able to obey the[20] order, “right face—left face,” and was entirely prohibited from stooping.

Stocks have lately been much improved, and these objections no longer exist. The best Stocks for general use are made of whalebone, thinned at the edges, with a border of white leather, which entirely prevents that unpleasant scratching of the chin so often produced by the whalebone penetrating the upper part.



The world in general is well informed of the source from which silk is derived; that it proceeds from an industrious insect of the order lepidoptera, known as the silk worm; which, in forming a light soft thread of almost infinite length, produces a bag, in which it undergoes the transformation from the chrysalis to the butterfly. As silk occupies so important a station in the toilet, it can hardly be less important that we should here offer a few remarks upon it.


Among the Romans the use of silk was general: scarcely any other material was worn on the neck. Augustus always used a silk handkerchief, and his example was imitated by all the petits-maitres of Rome, among whom the appearance of delicate health was considered a distinguishing mark of ton. It was also a constant attendant at the ladies’ toilet (mundus muliebris), and they called the handkerchief bissyna sudaria. It is probable that the Roman sidon resembled the large shawls now worn by the English ladies.

It appears that there was a company of silk-women in England as early as 1455; but these were probably employed in needle-work, as Italy supplied the broad material. Henry II, is said to have been the first who wore silk knit stockings; though the invention came from Spain, whence silk stockings were afterwards brought to Henry VIII. and Edward VI.

The advantages of this manufacture caused its introduction to be strongly recommended by James I. and in 1608 mulberry-trees were planted for the purpose of cultivating the worm—this, however,[23] failed. Towards the latter end of this king’s reign (about 1620) the manufacture of broad silk was introduced; and in 1629 was so much increased that the silk throwsters were incorporated as a public body. In 1661 above 40,000 persons were employed.

The Revocation of the edict of Nantes in 1685, greatly promoted the English manufactures, as did also the invention of the throwing machine at Derby in 1719. Great improvements have since taken place, and our manufacturers now yield the palm to none.

The black silk Cravat is now generally worn, and coloured silk handkerchiefs have been partially patronized. Napoleon generally wore a black silk Cravat, as was remarked at Wagram, Lodi, Marengo, Austerlitz, &c. But at Waterloo it was observed that, contrary to his usual custom, he wore a white handkerchief, with a flowing bow, although the day previous he appeared in his black Cravat.

Coloured handkerchiefs should be as plain as[24] possible; we must, however, give it as our opinion, that they can only be worn en déshabille at home, or when going to bathe, ride, &c. early in the morning.


Putting on the Cravat.

Plate A.

Fig. 1. Fig. 2. Fig. 3. Russian Stocks. Fig. 4. Whalebone Stiffner. Fig. 5. Fig. 6. Shirt Collar.

Ingrey & Madeley Lithog. 310 Strand.

Preliminary and indispensible Instructions.

When the Cravats are brought from the laundress they should undergo a careful examination, previous to classing them, to ascertain whether they are properly washed, ironed, and folded; and for the purpose of deciding on the exact style in which each may be worn with the best effect.[26] The set of the Cravat and the neatness of the tie entirely depends on its being correctly got up.

If these requisites are not carefully attended to, the Cravat immediately fades and becomes yellow, whilst on the contrary, if properly prepared, it presents an elegant and recherché appearance.

Starch gives a combination of substance, elasticity, and suppleness to the handkerchief, and by filling up the smallest holes effectually excludes the cold air in winter. In summer it also possesses the incalculable advantage of preventing the Cravat from adhering too closely to the neck, and thereby producing an uncomfortable heat.

Whatever style may have been adopted in putting on the Cravat, when the knot is once formed[27] (whether good or bad) it should not be changed under any pretence whatever.

In the duties of the toilet, we may compare the tie of the Cravat to the liaisons de sauces blanches of the kitchen; the least error is fatal to the whole composition of either, and as a new sauce must be prepared, with entirely fresh ingredients, so must a new tie be produced by a fresh Cravat.

When the Cravat is satisfactorily arranged, the finger must be passed lightly along the top, to smooth and thin it, and cause it to coincide with the shirt collar.

A small iron, with a handle, made expressly for the purpose, and moderately warm, is the best instrument for producing a thin and equal edge to the Cravat; it will also serve to smooth the tie;[28] but great care must be taken that it is clean and glossy, as without this precaution spots will be inevitable.

See plate A, fig. 5.

When a Cravat has not been previously folded by the laundress, and you have prepared it yourself, of the exact height required by the style you intend to adopt, particular attention should be paid to the folding the ends, one of which must be folded down and the other up, as it may be, the right or left end.

Plate A, fig 2.

The great advantages of this method will be immediately perceptible, in the prevention of that disagreeable prominence which is generally produced at the back of the neck by the junction of the ends; which being brought to the front without being soiled, or tumbled in the slightest[29] degree, are more easily formed into an elegant tie.

The same care and attention are necessary to the back as to the front of the Cravat.

Although coloured Cravats are made of more costly materials than those which are entirely plain, it is most clearly laid down, as a rule in the laws of taste, that they can be admitted only as undress costume.

The white Cravat, with spots or squares, is received as half-dress; but the plain white alone is allowed at balls or soirées.

The black Stock, or Cravat, is only suited to military men, not on service, who are dressed in plain clothes. As to coloured Cravats, they are entirely prohibited in evening parties.

Plate B.

Fig 6. Folding of the Cravat. Fig. 7. 1st time. Fig. 8. 2nd time. Fig. 9. 3rd time. Fig. 10. 4th time. Fig 11. 5th time.

Ingrey & Madeley Lithog. 310 Strand.


Nœud Gordien.

Plate B, fig. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11.

It would be very difficult to offer to our readers an exact and perfectly intelligible explanation of this most elegant style—of the sovereign of Cravat ties, the Nœud Gordien, the origin of which is lost in the obscurity of antiquity.

Notwithstanding the laborious researches we have bestowed on this interesting subject, we have hitherto been unable to discover the name of the genius to whom the honor of this invention is due. We only know (and it is, we believe, generally known) that Alexander the great, irritated at being unable to comprehend the theory of its composition, and determined not to be foiled, adopted the shorter and easier method of solving the question—that of cutting it with his sword.


In our own times we occasionally meet with young aspirants, who, in the fullest acceptation of the term, adopt the Gordian tie; with this difference, however, that when they wish to untie it, as a sword like that of the Macedonian monarch is too cumbersome for their delicate hands, they make use of a pair of scissors, with which they are more familiar—but to our subject.

We confess, with regret, that we can only speak imperfectly of this interesting tie; but as theory is nothing when compared to practice, we will endeavour to address ourselves to the eyes, rather than to the judgment of our readers, in the conviction that, though we may be unable to accomplish our object entirely, we shall, at least, approach it as nearly as possible. Attention!



In the first place, the Cravat for this tie must be of ample size, and properly starched, ironed, and folded (as shewn plate B. fig. 6); whether it be plain or coloured is of little consequence; but a rather stout one should be preferred, as it will offer more facilities to the daring fingers of the beginner who attempts to accomplish this chef-d’œuvre.

It will then be necessary to meditate deeply and seriously on the five following directions.

I. When you have decided on the Cravat, it must be placed on the neck, and the ends left hanging (as shewn plate B, fig. 7, first time).

II. You must take the point K, pass it on the inside of the point Z, and raise it (same plate, fig. 8, second time).

III. You lower the point K on the tie, now half formed O (same plate, fig. 9, third time).

IV. Then, without leaving the point K, you bend it inside and draw it between the point Z,[33] which you repass to the left, Y; in the tie now formed, Y, O, you thus accomplish the formation of the destined knot.

V. and last. After having tightened the knot, and flattened it with the thumb and fore-finger, or more properly with the iron, mentioned in the preceding lesson (see plate A, fig. 5); you lower the points, K, Z, cross them, and place a pin at the point of junction H, and at once solve the problem of the Nœud Gordien.

He who is perfectly conversant with the theory and practice of this tie, may truly boast that he possesses the key to all the others, which are, in fact, derived from this alone. A Cravat which has been once worn in this way, can only be used afterwards en negligé, as it will be so much tumbled by this intricate arrangement.

The slightest error in the first fold of this tie will render all succeeding efforts, with the same handkerchief, entirely useless—we have said it.

We would, therefore, seriously advise any one who really desires to be initiated in the mysteries of this delightful science, to make his first essay[34] on a moderate sized block. We can confidently assure him, that with moderate perseverance, he will soon be enabled to pursue his studies with pleasure and advantage—on himself.

(A careful examination of the figures referred to in this lesson is strongly recommended).

Plate C.

Fig. 12. L’Orientale. Fig. 13. L’Américaine. Fig. 14. Collier de Cheval. Fig. 15. Sentimentale. Fig. 16. A la Byron. Fig. 17. En Cascade. Fig. 18. A la Bergami. Fig. 19. De Bal. Fig. 20. Mathématique. Fig. 21. Irlandaise. Fig. 22. Maratte. Fig. 23. Gastronome.

Cravate à l’Orientale.

Plate C, fig. 12.

The shape of the Cravate à l’Orientale, is that of a turban, and the ends form a crescent; in this instance we wear that under the chin, which the Mahometans wear above the forehead.


One of our antiquarian friends, who has devoted his time to long and laborious researches on the origin of Cravats, asserts, that the real Cravate à l’Orientale consists of a very small silken cord; and that in the highest circles of Turkey, it is sometimes the custom to draw it tighter than the human frame can well bear; he very properly adds that this fashion produces the most serious results to the health of any one who is suddenly compelled to adopt it.

The Cravat, for this style, must be small, that it may present two small ends only; these must be strongly starched at the tips, that they may retain the form of the crescent, as not the slightest wrinkle can be suffered. A whalebone stiffener must, therefore, be used, as the least deviation from this rule will entirely deprive it of its denomination Orientale.

The Cravate à l’Orientale must be of the purest white muslin, or white cachemire.

See plate referred to.


Cravate à l’Américaine.

See plate C, fig. 13.

The Cravate à l’Américaine is extremely pretty and easily formed, provided the handkerchief is well starched.

When it is correctly formed, it presents the appearance of a column, destined to support a Corinthian capital. This style has many admirers here, and also among our friends, the fashionables of the New World, who pride themselves on its name, which they call “Independence;” this title may, to a certain point, be disputed, as the neck is fixed in a kind of vice, which entirely prohibits any very free movements.

The Cravate à l’Américaine requires a whalebone stiffener, and is commenced in the same way[37] as the Nœud Gordien; the ends are brought in front, as shown in fig. 8, plate C, are lowered as in fig. 9 (same plate), and fastened to the shirt bosom, like the Cravate en Cascade.

The prevailing colour is sea green, or striped blue, red and white.

See plate referred to.

Cravate Collier de Cheval.

Plate C, fig. 14.

This style greatly resembles the Orientale, from which it is evidently derived. It has been greatly admired by the fair sex, who have praised it to their husbands, their lovers, and even to their[38] friends and relations; and have thus promoted its adoption by every means in their power.

The ends are fastened at the back of the neck, or are concealed in the folds; a whalebone stiffener is requisite, but starch is unnecessary.

Cravats with horizontal stripes, or large spots, are preferred. The most becoming colour is that called Russia leather. Black is sometimes worn, but the shirt bosom must then be plaited.

Human life is often compared to a painful journey; and it is probably on the same philosophical principle that the Cravate Collier de Cheval was considered a proper costume for man, who often drags on his weary way, loaded with evils more insupportable than the heaviest burthens.

This style is, however, (in our opinion) rather vulgar, and we have introduced it here, more that it may be avoided as an instance of false taste, than as a model to copy.

It is folded as shewn in plate A, fig. 1.

See plate referred to.


Cravate Sentimentale.

Plate C, fig. 15.

The name alone of this Cravat is sufficient to explain that it is not alike suitable to all faces.

You, then, whom nature has not gifted with skins of silk—eyes of fire—with complexions rivalling the rose and lily;—you, to whom she has denied pearly teeth and coral lips (a gift which in our opinion would be rather inconvenient)—you, in fact, whose faces do not possess that sympathetic charm, which in a moment, at a glance, spreads confusion o’er the senses, and disorder and trouble in the hearts of all who behold[40] you—be careful how you expose to public gaze a head like that of a peruquier. We repeat—avoid it; and be assured that if your physiognomy does not inspire sensations of love and passion, and you should adopt the Cravate Sentimentale, you will be a fair butt for the shafts of ridicule, which (with no unsparing hand) will be showered upon you on all sides.

It is, therefore, for the juvenile only that it is at all adapted, and there should even be something boyish in the general appearance of the wearer. It may, then, be worn from the age of seventeen to twenty-seven; but after that age it cannot, with propriety, be patronized by even the most agreeable.

It must be allowed that this style is completely opposed to the Orientale and Collier de Cheval. It must be strongly starched, and fastened with a single rosette at the top, as near as possible to the chin.

It is more fashionable in the country than in town. Cambric is generally preferred.

See plate referred to.


Cravate à la Byron.

Plate C, fig. 16.

As Lord Byron differed so widely from the world in general, we can hardly expect to find in the Cravat worn by this prince of poets, any of that élégance recherchée which generally characterize an Englishman of rank. It is universally allowed that the least constraint of the body has a corresponding effect on the mind, and it must, therefore, be admitted, that to a certain extent, a tight Cravat will cramp the imagination, and, as it were, suffocate the thoughts.

That Lord Byron feared this effect, is proved[42] from his submitting to the inconveniences of a Cravat, only when accommodating himself to the bienséances of society; and in every portrait where he is painted in the ardour of composition, his neck is always free from the trammels of the neckcloth.

The Cravat which bears the name of this noble author, differs widely from most others—this difference consists in the manner in which it is first placed on the neck. It is commenced at the back of the neck—the ends are then brought in front under the chin, and fastened in a large bow, or rosette, at least six inches in length and four in circumference.

This fashion is extremely comfortable in summer, and during long journeys, as it forms but one turn round the neck, which is thus left comparatively free.

Either black or white may be worn, but it should not be starched, and is folded as shewn in plate A, fig. 1.

See plate referred to.


Cravate en Cascade.

See plate C, fig. 17.

The Cravate en Cascade is formed by making a single knot, like that in the second lesson, plate B, fig. 8, and leaving one end longer than the other; the longer, after being brought on the inside (as in the plate and figure referred to) must be lowered so as to cover the whole of the knot—carefully spread out as wide as possible, and then fastened to the bosom of the shirt. The tout ensemble will then present the appearance of the Cascade, or Jet d’Eau in the bason of the Palais Royal.


This style is generally followed by valets, butlers and other fashionables of the same grade.

The handkerchief should not be starched.

See plate referred to.

Cravate à la Bergami.

Plate C, fig. 18.

Like the Cravate à la Byron, which it greatly resembles, the Bergami is first placed at the back of the neck—the ends are brought forward and crossed on the breast, without being tied, and then fastened to the braces; some pass them under the arms, and tie them on the back; but the[45] handkerchief must then be very large, and folded as shewn in plate B, fig 6.

See plate referred to.

Cravate de Bal.

Plate C, fig. 19.

The Cravate de Bal should not be tied, but fastened with pins to the braces, or to the shirt, in the same way as the Bergami. Some pass the ends under the arms, and tie them on the back; but as this method is inconvenient, from the handkerchief moving with the body in dancing, we would recommend the two first.

It should be simply and plainly folded, (as shewn in plate B, fig. 6), and must be tolerably large.


The Cravate de Bal, when carefully put on is delightfully elegant; it partakes of the elegant sévérité of the Mathématique, combined with the laissez-aller of the Bergami, whilst it unites the advantages of both; it is in fact, a derivation from them.

We must here enter an entire prohibition against colours of every kind for the Cravate de Bal—white must reign alone.

The Cravat should be but slightly starched.

See plate referred to.

Cravate Mathématique.

Plate C, fig. 20.

Regularity and proportion are the essentials of every art.

In a beautiful landscape we are occasionally delighted with the knotted and bent trunk of the[47] majestic oak; but the correct and beautiful proportion of a Grecian column (even in ruins) rivets our attention and excites our wonder and admiration.

The Cravate Mathématique is a combination of symmetry and regularity—the style is grave and severe, and the slightest wrinkle is strictly prohibited. The ends should be geometrically correct, and must bear examination even by the aid of a compass; they should descend obliquely from each side, and form two acute angles in crossing—all the folds in a horizontal direction, forming the two acute and opposite angles of a triangle, which the Mathématique must always strictly represent.

Black is generally worn, and is made either of taffeta or Levantine.

A whalebone stiffener is requisite.

See plate referred to.


Cravate à l’Irlandaise.

Plate C, fig. 21.

This Cravat very closely resembles the Mathématique, and differs only in the arrangement of the ends, which in the Irlandaise are joined in front and twine round each other—each end is then brought back to the side it comes from, and is fastened at the back of the neck.

This difference, which would be invisible to a superficial observer, will not escape the critical eye of an élégant, accustomed to peruse this important work with the care and attention it merits.


The Irlandaise is not confined to any particular colour, and the handkerchief need not be starched, but a whalebone stiffener is necessary.

See plate referred to.

Cravate à la Maratte.

Plate C, fig. 22.

The Cravat for this style should be of the finest and whitest India muslin. Like the Byron, it is commenced at the back of the neck, and linked like a chain; the ends may either be fastened like those of the Cravat de Bal (to the braces, or on the back), or to the shirt bosom.


The Maratte does not require starch, and should be simply and plainly folded.

See plate referred to.

Cravate à la Gastronome.

Plate C, fig. 23.

The véritable Cravate à la Gastronome is a handkerchief of any kind, without starch, folded on a stiffener of at most three fingers in depth, and thrown rather than fastened round the neck: it is more particularly distinguished by the tie which confines the ends; this greatly resembles the Nœud Gordien in elasticity, with this difference, however, that it slackens and yields to the slightest movement of the neck—to the least vacillation of the jaws, and even to that slight swelling of the throat which in men decidedly distinguished for gastronomic talents, so often produces impeded respiration. It also possesses the great advantage of loosening itself in cases of indigestion, apoplexy, or fainting.


The Gastronome is seldom worn previous to the age of forty, but this greatly depends on climate and constitution.

See plate referred to.

Plate D.

Fig. 24. De Chasse. Fig. 25. En Valise. Fig. 26. Coquille. Fig. 27. A la Colin. Fig. 28. A la Parresseuse. Fig. 29. A la Talma. Fig. 30. A l’Italienne. Fig. 31. A la Russe. Fig. 32. Jesuitique.

Ingrey & Madeley Lithog. 310 Strand.

Eighteen different methods of putting on the Cravat.

Plate D, figures 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, and 32.

Although this lesson comprehends eighteen different methods of wearing the Cravat, yet as[52] they are nearly all derived from some of those already explained, it is but little longer than any one of them. It is placed nearly at the end of the work as it is absolutely necessary that the thirteen first should be well studied and digested, previous to entering upon this; for it would be as vain for a veteran fashionable to attempt the formation of any of the following, without having previously made himself acquainted with the preceding, as for a young mathematician to attempt an explanation of the third book of Legendre, without having studied the first and second.

Cravate de Chasse.

This Cravat is by some élégans called à la Diane, although it is a kind of poetical license to suppose that this rather unfashionable Goddess wore one. It is doubly crossed on the neck, as shewn in the Cravate à l’Américaine (plate C, fig. 13). It should not be starched, and must be folded[53] plainly, as shewn in plate A, fig. 1—the colour must be deep green, or feuille morte, which is more recherché.

See plate D, fig. 24.

Cravate à la Diane.

Exactly similar to the last, but the colour must be white.

Cravate à l’Anglaise.

Is formed in the same way as the Nœud Gordien, but is never starched.

See plate B, fig. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11.

Cravate à l’Indépendance.

The same as the Américaine, except in colour; it[54] is composed of red, blue and white, in alternate stripes; all other shades are strictly prohibited.

See plate C, fig. 13.

Cravate en Valise.

Is composed like the Nœud Gordien, except the ends, which, instead of being brought down, are turned inside the knot; the handkerchief must be rather small, or it will be impossible to conceal the ends, which with the knot should present the appearance of a travelling portmanteau.

The favourite colour is that of Russia leather.

See plate D, fig. 25.

Cravate en Coquille.

The tie of this Cravat should resemble a shell; it is very pleasing, and easily formed; it consists[55] of a double or triple knot, and the ends are fastened at the back of the neck. It does not require starch, and may be worn with or without a whalebone stiffener.

The colour may be that most pleasing to the wearer.

See plate D, fig. 26.

Cravate de Voyage.

Is put on in the same way as the Byron.

Cravate à la Colin.

Is commenced like the Byron, Bergami, and Talma; a mere knot is made, the ends left loose, and shirt collar turned down, as shewn in the Cravate Jesuitique.

This style possesses the great advantage of preventing[56] the wearer from entering any public place, and of causing him to be shewn (politely) to the door of any private house.

See plate D, fig. 27 and 32.

Cravate en Jet d’Eau.

The same as the Cravate en Cascade.

See plate C, fig. 17.

Cravate Casse Cœur.

The same as the Bergami; the favourite colour is red (Sang de Bœuf).

See plate C, fig. 18.


Cravate à la Paresseuse.

The Paresseuse is undoubtedly one of the most convenient and easy methods of wearing the Cravat. It has been rather neglected, and we think unjustly so, as it combines the advantage of concealing the shirt of the wearer, and displaying the handkerchief to advantage. It may be put on in a moment, and this style can be adopted with complete success in wearing a handkerchief a second time. It should be prepared as shewn in plate A, fig. 2; placed on the front of the neck, the ends are passed round and crossed on the chest, as shewn in plate D, fig. 28.

Married men and antiquated beaux seem to be its greatest admirers; it may be starched or not ad libitum.

Cravate Romantique.

The same as the Byron; it is chiefly worn in the country, and the prevailing colour is solitaire.

See plate C, fig. 16.


Cravate à la Fidélité.

The same as the Mathématique. The privates of the ex-national guard of France wore it when in uniform, and it has since been recommended to the ex-ministry of our own country. It must be black, and folded on a whalebone stiffener, and should be so carefully put on as to prevent all appearance of the shirt, except the collar, which must be of the most dazzling white.

See plate C, fig. 20.

Cravate à la Talma.

This style is worn in mourning only. It is placed on the neck in the same way as the Byron and Bergami.

See plate D, fig. 29.


Cravate à l’Italienne.

Is formed in nearly the same manner as the Irlandaise, but instead of turning the ends round each other, they are passed through a ring, returned to the side they come from and fastened at the back of the neck by a small knot.

It requires a whalebone stiffener, and should be prepared as shewn in plate A, fig. 1. Starch is unnecessary. White only is admissible.

See plate D, fig. 30.

Cravate Diplomatique.

The same as the Cravate à la Gastronome.

See plate C, fig. 28.


Cravate à la Russe.

In this style are included all Cravats which are fastened at the back of the neck, without the ends being at all brought in front; these should not be concealed under the Cravat, but down the back, and care must be taken to prevent their rising above the waistcoat. Any colour is allowed, and starch may be used or not ad libitum.

See plate D, fig. 31.

Cravate Jesuitique.

This is a Cravat in appearance only.

For this style the waistcoat must be made en cuirasse, and the collar must be high enough to conceal the neck entirely. The shirt collar is turned down and forms a kind of band.

Although this style has lately become very general, we have never been at all prepossessed in[61] its favour; not merely because it is unpleasant to the eye, but that we rather pride ourselves in despising most cordially whatever has the least resemblance to the name or quality of a Jesuit.

See plate D, fig. 32.

In closing this lesson, we must observe, that although we have specified the colour which fashion seems to have patronized for each particular style of Cravat, we do not (in any instance) intend to exclude the chaste simplicity of white, which may be introduced in any of them.


Important and necessary Observations.

In all cases of apoplexy, fainting, or illness in general, it is requisite to loosen or even remove the Cravat immediately.

The greatest insult that can be offered to a man, comme il faut, is to seize him by the Cravat; in this case blood only can wash out the stain upon the honour of either party.

The Cravat should invariably be loosened before[63] the commencement of study, or of any important business.

Those who have a short neck, high shoulders, a round, full, and fresh coloured face, and who are at all subject to head aches, beatings of the temples, &c. should be most careful to wear the Cravat loose; the neglect of this precaution will generally produce an attack of the complaint to which they may be liable.

Those who are accustomed to sleep in the Cravat, should be most careful in examining whether it be loose. In all cases of organic diseases of the heart, or large vessels, &c. it should be entirely prohibited.

Lastly.—Every person at all accustomed to travel, and who has the least respect for his[64] appearance, should provide himself with a box for containing a collection of Cravats.

This box must be divided into several compartments, and be made of the following proportions; eighteen inches in length, six inches in width, and twelve in depth, it should contain,

1 A dozen (at least) of plain white Cravats.

2 The same quantity of spotted and striped white Cravats.

3 A dozen coloured ditto.

4 Three dozen (at least) shirt collars.

5 Two whalebone stiffeners.

6 Two black silk Cravats.

7 The small iron mentioned in the first lesson.

8 As many copies as possible, of this important and useful work, taking the precaution of having them well bound, that they may occupy less room.[2]

[2] Editor’s opinion.


On the Importance of the Cravat in Society.

When a man of rank makes his entrée into a circle distinguished for taste and elegance, and the usual compliments have passed on both sides, he will discover that his coat will attract only a slight degree of attention, but that the most critical and scrutinizing examination will be made on the set of his Cravat. Should this unfortunately, not be correctly and elegantly put on—no further notice will be taken of him; whether his coat be of the reigning fashion or not will be unnoticed by the assembly—all eyes will be occupied in examining the folds of the fatal Cravat.[66] His reception will in future be cold, and no one will move on his entrance;—but if his Cravat is savamment and elegantly formed—although his coat may not be of the last cut—every one will rise to receive him with the most distinguished marks of respect, will cheerfully resign their seats to him, and the delighted eyes of all will be fixed on that part of his person which separates the shoulders from the chin—let him speak downright nonsense he will be applauded to the skies; it will be said—“this man has critically and deeply studied the thirty-two lessons on the Art of Tying the Cravat.”—But again reverse the picture—it will be found that the unfortunate individual who is not aware of the existence of this justly celebrated work—however well informed he may be on other subjects—will be considered as an ignorant pretender, and will be compelled to suffer the impertinence of the fop, who will treat him with disdain, merely because his Cravat is not correctly disposed—he will moreover be obliged to hear in silence, and to approve (under pain of being considered unacquainted with the[67] common rules of politeness) all the remarks which he will thus subject himself to—occasionally relieved by hearing a whisper of “He cannot even put on a Cravat properly.”





Introduction iii
Its philosophical, moral, and political history; with reflections on its influence on society—from its origin to the present time 9
Its origin—inconvenience and advantages—its colour, form, &c. 17
The black and coloured silk Cravat 21
[70]Preliminary observations 25
Cravate Nœud Gordien 30
—— à l’Orientale 34
—— à l’Américaine 36
—— Collier de Cheval 37
—— Sentimentale 39
—— à la Byron 41
—— en Cascade 43
—— à la Bergami 44
—— de Bal 45
[71]—— Mathématique 46
—— à l’Irlandaise 48
—— à la Maratte 49
—— à la Gastronome 50
Eighteen different methods of putting on the Cravat 51
Cravate de Chasse 52
—— à la Diane 53
—— à l’Anglaise ib.
—— à l’Indépendance ib.
—— en Valise 54
—— en Coquille ib.
—— de Voyage 55
—— à la Colin ib.
—— en Jet-d’Eau 56
—— Casse-Cœur ib.
—— à la Paresseuse 57
[72]—— Romantique ib.
—— à la Fidélité 58
—— à la Talma ib.
—— à l’Italienne 59
—— Diplomatique ib.
—— à la Russe 60
—— Jesuitique ib.
Important and necessary observations 62
On the Importance of the Cravat in society 65