Today's Hours
Museum: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Gardens: 7:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Today's Hours
Museum: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Gardens: 7:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Alejandro, front
Alejandro, side
Alejandro has a German bisque head and kid body. He wears a wig of yak hair
in the cadogan arrangement; this was a wig with a club arrangement of the back
hair, a style particularly popular among a group of English fops or dandies of
the 1770s known as the Macaronies. It was this group that was commemorated in
the satirical lyrics of Yankee Doodle Dandy, in the lines "Stuck a feather in
his hat and called it macaroni" implying an American rube come to town and
pretending to be a "dandy" or fop. He also wears a solitaire, the thin black
ribbon that tied the wig and then was pulled forward around the neck to be
tied in a bow at the collar over the cravat. He wears a lavishly trimmed black
velvet habit with a maroon woolen embroidered lining. Collars are starting to
appear on coats (you can see the hint of one here) and buttonholes are used
for decorative rather than applicable purposes (they are often fake). The
waistcoat is somewhat shorter than in Pierres (1750) period. His corded
striped silk waistcoat, as well his silver-beaded, lace-trimmed lingerie
cravat, are more elaborate and fanciful; the Macaronis were also instrumental
in making the cravat much more elaborate and prominent than before. He
wears breeches fastened over the knee with silver buckles. Breeches became
increasingly tighter during this period, and were often made of leather so that
they could be pulled even tighter; this resulted in many men abandoning the
wearing of drawers, so as to pull their pants as tight as possible, a style
which became prevalent for the next forty years. This fashion was responsible
for the origin of the tradition of two sets of pants with one coat which
continued well into the 20th century; the original reason was so that he had
one pair (very tight) for standing at state occasions, and another pair
(somewhat looser) for occasions on which he would have to sit. Alejandro
also has two watch fobs, which was a fad during the period. He wears
white hose and black leather shoes with steel buckles; men tended to wear
low pointed pumps with various buckles and accessories during the period,
one of the most elaborate in terms of mens dress.

Alejandro O'Reilly (1722 1794)

Born Alexander O'Reilly (1772-1794) in Dublin, Ireland, O'Reilly was one of
the "Wild Geese", expatriate Irish of the 17th & 18th centuries who
frequently became mercenaries. He first became a colonel in the Austrian
army, but after serving the Spanish in the invasion of Portugal, he swore
allegiance to Spain and rose to become a brigadier general. In 1763, he
accompanied the new Spanish governor to Havana, Cuba as his adjutant
and second-in-command when the Spanish reclaimed the island from the
British after the Seven Years War. He completely revamped the islands
defenses; today, there is a street in Habana la Vieja still named after him.

In 1765, Carlos III sent the newly-commissioned Field Marshal Alejandro
O'Reilly to Puerto Rico to assess its defenses, which he also revamped,
known as "the father of the Puerto Rican militia." He also stood up for the
enlisted men, determining that they receive their pay regularly and directly
rather than having it filtered through officers who often took a cut off the
top. Returning to Cuba, he married into a prominent family and soon became a
favorite at the Spanish court.

In April 1769, he was appointed governor and captain-general of colonial
Louisiana, and ordered to take 2,000 troops and put down a revolt there by
French Creoles. He held trials and severely punished the rebels, gaining the
nickname "Bloody O'Reilly" because he had six prominent rebel Frenchmen
executed. Still others were exiled. O'Reilly then focused his attention on
establishing a secure administration in the colony, reforming many of the
bureaucratic practices in place from the years of French rule. He altered many
things, including making it easier for owners to free their slaves and
forbidding the enslavement of Native Americans. He went on to regularize the
weights and measures used in markets, regulate doctors and surgeons and
improve public safety by funding bridge and levee maintenance.

Later in life, O'Reilly went on to other military adventures in Spain and
Algiers. He was made a Conde [Count], ensuring his family's status, and died
in Cadiz in 1794.