Richard ’Beau’ Nash


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Richard ’Beau’ Nash (1674-1761)
Painted in 1746 by Andrien Carpentiers at Bath (Victoria Art Gallery, Bath).
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Leader of Fashion and Master of Ceremonies at Bath.


He ruled over the Pump Room and the Assembly Rooms.


His life is known through a biography by the novelist Oliver Goldsmith (1762).



Beau Nash in Bath

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Beau Nash
Portrait of Beau Nash by William Hoare
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Beau Nash
Beau Nash medallion by Nathaniel Hone
(The Holborne Museum of Art, Bath)
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Beau Nash’s house in Bath

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Beau Nash’s house in Bath
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Beau Nash’s house in Bath
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“The Laws of Bath”

Nash enforced strict laws of fashion.

He also forbade duels, and he ordered Assemblies to stop at eleven; both customs are mentioned in Sheridan’s The Rivals, the latter one is referred to in Elizabeth Giffard’s diary.


The Laws of Bath

By general Confent determin’d

THAT a Visit of Ceremony at coming BATH, and another at going away, is all that is expected, or desired by Ladies of Quality and Fashion ; --- except Impertinents.

THAT Ladies coming to Ball, appoint a Time for their Footmen’s coming to wait on them Home; to prevent Disturbances and Inconveniencies to themselves and others.

THAT Gentlemen of Fashion never appearing in a Morning before the Ladies in Gowns and Caps, thew Breeding and Respect.

THAT Gentlemen coming into the Rooms in Boots, where Ladies are, thew their little Regards to them or Company ; ---except they have no Shoes.

THAT no Person take it ill that any one goes to another’s Play, or Breakfast, and not to theirs ;---except captious by Nature.

THAT no Gentleman give his Ticket for the Balls to any but Gentlewomen. --- N.B. Unless he has none of his Acquaintance.

THAT Gentlemen crowding before Ladies at the Ball, thew ill Manners; and that none do so for the Future ; ---except such as respect No-body but themselves.

THAT no Gentleman or Lady take it ill that another dances before them ;---except such as have no Pretence to dance at all.

THAT Ladies dressing and behaving like Handmaids, must not be surprised if they are treated as Handmaids.

THAT the elder Ladies and Children be content with a second Bench at the Ball, as being past, or not come to Perfection.

THAT the younger Ladies take Notice how many Eyes observe them. ---N.B. This does not extend to Have-at-Alls.

THAT all Whisperers Lies and Scandal be taken for their Authors and that all Repeaters of such Lies and Scandal be shunn’d by all Company ;---except such as have been guilty of the same Crime.

=> Several Men of no Character, Old Women and Young Ones, of question’d Reputation, are great Authors of Lies in this Place, being of the Sect of Levellers.


Whereas POLITENESS, DECENCY, and GOOD-MANNERS, three ancient Residents at BATH, have, of late, left the Place; whoever shall restore them, shall be rewarded with Honour and Respect.

Richard Nash
Master of the Ceremonies
the Pump Room, Bath 1707

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“The Laws of Bath”
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“The Laws of Bath”
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