May 26 2012 12:00pm

Hotties in Cravats: Historical Hunks

Nathaniel Hawthorne

It’s all very well to share pictures of bare-chested men in low-slung jeans. And it’s equally fine to share drool-worthy pictures of hot guys in fancy suits. As a Facebook user, I am frequently treated to both of these types of eye candy. In fact, Heroes and Heartbreakers has made this particularly easy with their Facebook Hottie-Gram app

But there are those of us who long for that manly throat swathed in a cravat, those muscular thighs encased in body-hugging buckskin, that superfine jacket stretched across broad shoulders and, yes, even those intrepid legs in silk stockings and dancing pumps. I knew I was one of those people even before Colin Firth came galloping across the Cheshire landscape on a white steed, although I must admit that Colin Firth in any of the above mentioned items of clothing never fails to set my pulses pounding.

Darcy on Horseback

Fortunately, those of us with that bone-deep craving for Historical Hunks do not have to wait for the next costume drama. History abounds with good looking men in all manner of fancy dress. This fact was driven home one day when I was giving friends a tour of Salem, MA. After the dreadful Witch Museum, we cleansed our palate with a visit to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s birthplace and there encountered a lovely portrait of the author as a young man. Oh Nathaniel, you can give me that scarlet A any time.

Nathaniel is not alone in his historical hunkiness; a trip through The National Portrait Gallery in London, or any portrait gallery for that matter, will reveal a veritable bevy of Historical Hunks. Allow me to share some of my favorites.

Lord Byron

Let’s start with the quintessential Regency bad boy, George Gordon, Lord Byron. Even without following his scandalous escapades or reading his exciting poetry, one cannot help but be captivated by that face, both boyish and virile. Although I enjoy looking at him, had I met him in person, I might give him a wide berth.

The Duke of Wellington

If you go for a hot guy looking down his aristocratic nose at you (or just a man in uniform), may I suggest for your drooling pleasure, Arthur Wellesley, soon to be the Duke of Wellington. Again, probably not someone you want to marry, but definitely an exciting man, and not too tough to look at.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

For those of you who are attracted to the poetic type, we have Nathaniel, my number one historical hunk. But perhaps you might want to ogle Alfred, Lord Tennyson, a refined and intelligent looking hottie. I do recommend that you do not search for portraits of the older Tennyson, however. He did not age well.

Lord Melbourne

If you are attracted to the contemporary hotties in dapper suits, the historical politicians might be your cup of tea. I recommend Henry Brougham who helped found the Edinburgh Review and later became the Lord Chancellor of Great Britain, or perhaps you might like William Lamb, Viscount Melbourne, Queen Victoria’s Prime Minister and mentor. William, by the way, did age very nicely.

There are many more. The lovely and erudite Loretta Chase and the equally lovely and erudite Susan Holloway Scott, blogging as Two Nerdy History Girls. Have a board on their Pinterest page devoted to Hot Heroic Inspiration.  Check it out, you might be inspired.

Who are your Historical Hunks? You may include Colin Firth in breeches and silk stockings or Jeremy Northam in a top hat, but do share. I’d love to add to my collection.


Myretta is the co-founder and current manager of The Republic of Pemberley, a pretty big Jane Austen web site. She is also a writer of Historical Romance in which she creates her own historical hunks. You can find her at her website, and on Twitter @Myretta.

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EC Spurlock
1. EC Spurlock
For those who enjoy Historical Hotties of a slightly more recent vintage, I strongly recommend this Tumblr:

Who knew Rorschach was a dead ringer for Brad Pitt? Or that Houdini was a babe? And stay tuned for Teddy Roosevelt wearing nothing but rowing shorts!
Glass Slipper
2. GlassSlipper
I was in the museum in Salem, when I happened upon that portrait of Hawthorne. I was so struck by his handsomeness, that I had to take a photo. Of course, my flash went off and alerted security! I didn't get in trouble, but I certainly put my camera away!

May I add another Historical Hunk? Leopold I of Belgium

I included a breeches portrait for you. ;)
Myretta Robens
3. Myretta
Oh, thanks for Leopold I, @GlassSlipper. He is definitely going on my list.
Myretta Robens
4. Myretta
@EC Spurlock My daguerreotype Boyfriend is a great collection. I just went through the first eight pages and will be back for more. Who could have guessed that Johannes Brahms was a babe? Thanks!
EC Spurlock
5. Annabel
Thanks for this post! Another great site is Bangable Dudes in History.

As for historical hotties, I am partial to Georges Seurat for his tortured artiste qualities, his man-slut reputation, and his cool art. I just imagine him without the massive pointy overgrown beard because that is kind of a turn off. Ooh, but those dark, intense eyes.
EC Spurlock
6. Gail Eastwood
Myretta, loved this post!! AND all the new "historical eye candy" -yum! Thanks for sharing these sites, ladies. "Bangable Dudes" made me LOL. :-)
If we go into the later eras, some of the other musical composers besides Brahms were also hotties --check out Franz Liszt about 1850, for instance!
EC Spurlock
7. nancy marie
Always did prefer men with clothes on when looking for eye candy. Wish I could print out most of those featured here and on other sites as well to decorate my cubicle. That would give the work place a lift.
8. wsl0612
Bangable dudes is hilarious, and so true, thanks for the reference!
rachel sternberg
9. rae70
What a bummer! I can't look up the "My D-Type Boyfriend" at work, the censors are calling it "pornography!" ugh!
EC Spurlock
11. Ella Quinn
I love a man in a cravat. So sexy.
Glass Slipper
12. GlassSlipper
Jez, I love those sideburns too! I just want to nuzzle them for some reason. I wish sideburns were more popular. The longer, the better, along with a beautiful head of hair and a hairy chest on a man. Unfortunately, they all seem to want to shave or wax it off. It's a travesty, I say!
EC Spurlock
13. Davidia
I hope I'm not too late the party, Myeretta. I do so love a man formally attired, and, I have a mad crush on Henry Cavill as Charles Brandon in The Tudors.
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