Macassar oil was used primarily by Victorian and Edwardian men as a conditioner to groom and style their hair. Named after the Indonesian port where the ingredients were sourced, it was a compound of palm or coconut oil, combined with ylang-ylang and other fragrant oils. Anti-macassars (small crocheted or embroidered cloths) evolved as a decorative solution to the repeated oil smears from a gentleman’s head staining the upholstery on the back of a chair.


The leading brand claimed that: “it nourishes the hair in its embryo state, accelerates its growth, cleanses it from scurf and dandruff, sustains it in maturity, and continues its possession of healthy vigour, silky, softness, and luxurious redundancy, to the latest period of human life.”


(2013) feathers, vintage textiles, transfer-prints: 1550 x 1050 mm