Monday, 15 June 2015

Extant Corded Bonnet and Cap - Mid Nineteenth Century

Here are images of two of my latest acquisitions. How I love caps! So beautiful and all so very different.

Mid 19th Century Cream Cotton Cap

This 1840s-60s cap is made from a beautiful chequered light cotton in cream. It is very pretty, with narrow ruffles framing the face, with the edges minutely, exquisitely sewn into a scalloped shape. There are 2 areas where there is a piece of very narrow cording. The lovely featherstitch embroidery was originally first seen on farmers' smocks of the 18th century.

One of the best places to search through for many examples of caps and bonnets is The National Trust Collection. It is always good to use both cap and bonnet as search terms. Caps are notoriously challenging to date accurately. There are so many differing styles, some more fashionable at the time of use than others, and the styles favoured by older women were often different to the younger ones. But looking through the collection, a fair few similar in style to mine here were dated 1840s-60s. The fabric points certainly to the 1850s to my mind. It is super to see so many 'plain caps' in the collection as well. Another form of art to study which is ideal for cap shapes are silhouette paintings.

Another cap came with the one above. I was quite excited by this one as well as I am always interested to see rural clothing and accessories:-

Mid Nineteenth Century Corded Rural Cap or Bonnet



We are used to seeing so many of those later Victorian corded bonnets, or sun bonnets, with the long skirt at the back to cover the neck. I did look for evidence of stitching along the hem in case it had had a skirt at some point, but failed to see any. Perhaps one was removed at some point, and then a strip of fabric was sewn to the edge to cover any stitches completely.

I have just bought an 1830s cap off ebay, so now wait with bated breath to have it in my hands!

naomi x