John Wesley’s Wig

John Wesley’s Wig
John Wesley’s Wig

1750-1800 / John Wesley / Object / Organic / Other
Horse (?) hair woven onto cotton cap

Believed to be John Wesley's wig, which was handed down in his family. Wesley would have worn this wig in later life; in younger years, he wore his own hair, preferring to give the money saved by doing thus to the poor.

Originally, the upper part of the wig cap would have been covered with hair, too. It is likely this would have been human hair, while the lower part was made from another organic material, possibly horsehair. This would have been more suitable for curling. The human hair has disintegrated over time, while the other hair has lasted and kept its shape.

The wig is displayed on Wesley's death mask. Its fit is remarkable and the overall appearance recalls portraits of John Wesley in old age.