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© McCord Museum
Senator Louis Joseph Forget as the "Marquis de Ramezay," costumed for Chateau de Ramezay Ball, Montreal, QC, 1898
Wm. Notman & Son
1898, 19th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
17 x 12 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum

Keys to History:

Louis-Joseph Forget attended the ball as the "Marquis de Ramezay." A comparison with his regular formal portrait shows a drastic modification he has made for this ball-he has shaved off his mustache for the sake of accuracy. "It is altogether incorrect to wear any hair upon the face with powdered wigs," a manual stated.

Evidently, for this ball many men did make this difficult sacrifice. A reporter noted before the ball that "Even elderly gentlemen have offered up on the alter of comme il faut dearly beloved hirsute appendages, and men like brothers passed each other as strangers. Just what a difference a mustache does make!"

Ardern Holt, Gentlemen's Fancy Dress, 2nd ed. (London: Wyman and Sons, 1882), p. 3.

Montreal Star, 19 January 1898.


Louis-Joseph Forget as the "Marquis de Ramezay" wore an olive velvet coat with gold trim and olive satin knee breeches. His formal portraits show a thick moustache.


Forget's house still stands today on Sherbrooke Street in Montreal.


In the 1890s facial hair was fashionable and was cultivated by most men.


Forget was a senator, as well as president of the Montreal Stock Exchange and Montreal Street Railway.

© Musée McCord Museum