I'm researching dress in 18th century Britain.
This article claims the following: "Brits stopped wearing wigs after William Pitt levied a tax on hair powder in 1795." The date seems odd to me, because I could have sworn I once read a social history that claimed a Briton "wouldn't be caught dead in a wig" by the 1780s, or even the 70s, and backed it up with a quote from a contemporary letter. But I can't be sure I'm remembering correctly. The book Daily Life in 18th Century Britain says that that "wigs went out of fashion for good (except in the law courts) at the end of the century, when powder taxes and sympathies for the French revolutionaries made short, natural hair the rage."
If this is right, it implies multiple causes (and also taxes plural) and a slower phase out than just 1795. The political and fashionable aspects also make me wonder if it may have been first ditched by the young or politically left. Odd as it may seem, I'd like to know the status of the wig down to the year, because my project focuses on 1793-94.
So, when did the British gentry do away with the wig? Secondarily, did it go very suddenly, or did any particular group stop wearing them first? Was it ever politically controversial? And on a final note, did Britain uniformly adopt short hair, or was there greater variation?