Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Leek-wearing Welshman, 1735

Plate 4 of William Hogarth’s Rake’s Progress, 1735.   The man on the left is said to be a Welshman, probably one of the rake’s creditors, wearing a leek (Allium porrum) in his hat in honour of St David’s Day (1 March).  However, the scene is outside a gambling den near St James’ Palace in London, and the sedan chairs are said to have transported people coming to celebrate Queen Caroline’s birthday, which fell on 17 May.  Thus it seems that the leek is intended to indicate that its wearer is Welsh, rather than having any direct association with St David’s Day.

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