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Art History’s Best Mustaches: British Railway Man John McLure’s Alluringly Full Flapwings

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Thus far our month-long chronicle of art history’s best mustaches — in recognition of male cancer awareness campaign and facial hair liberation movement Movember — we’ve stuck to big names like John Singer Sargent, Lord Byron, and George Luks, but now today we’ve hopped an express train to the most obscure recesses of railroad history. Today’s Movember-tastic mustache belongs to late-19th century British railway director Sir John McClure.

The unsigned portrait of McLure — who served as the director of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire railways as late as 1893, according to an issue of the inexplicably digitized The Railway News from August 26 of that year — belongs to the permanent collection of London’s National Railway Museum and was recently made available in all its glory thanks to the BBC’s Your Paintings project.

McLure’s spectacular facial coif, by our estimation, could very well be categorized as an example of exceptionally full Friendly Mutton Chops, but we prefer the more obscure and evocative moniker Flapwings.

— Benjamin Sutton

(Image: Artist unknown, “Sir John McClure, Director of Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway,” undated; Photo credit: National Railway Museum, London.)

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