Female Archers by Adam Buck
Britain (Ireland), 1799
"Archers", an April 1799 "pin-up" type print, engraved after a drawing by Adam Buck, and with a dedication to the Prince Regent. At the time, archery was one of the few competitive sports that adult women of the "genteel" classes could respectably engage in (others were battledore/shuttlecock — a precursor to badminton — and for a tiny social elite, old-fashioned "court tennis").
What might not be obvious from a 21st-century point of view is that in 1799 the loosely-flowing unbound hair of the two ladies on the left would have been somewhat titillating in the eyes of the males of the day. At the time, grown-up women did not leave their hair completely free-flowing in public (but generally covered, ornamented, or confined their hair in some way, usually binding it up in back), so that unbound hair had a sexual charge because it was associated with the intimacy or privacy of the boudoir.
The dresses that the archers are wearing would have been quite scandalous in their time as well, considering this is quite an early stage in Regency fashion. Of course, there is little about the Regency that was not considered scandalous at one stage or another (just ask the Victorians about it!) The woman in the back is wearing a mob cap, an option of headgear for the more conservative types. Married women would wear this regularly, whilst it was a more casual option for fashionable, unmarried women.
This is so interesting!!