Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Hair bonnet

Hair bonnet

  • Place of origin:

    Spain (made)

  • Date:

    1750 - 1800 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silk, hand-knitted, hand-knotted

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Pamela Sanguinetti

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The ‘gandaya’ is a type of headwear originating in Catalonia and Valencia. It was usually worn at the back of the head, covering the wearer’s hair and gathered up around the bottom with a ribbon. Gandayas appear in inventories from the fourteenth century, although no examples survive from this period.

During the eighteenth century, Madrid attracted immigrants from other areas of Spain bringing with them regional dress, such as the gandaya. These newcomers were known as ‘majos’ and they used their distinctive dress to develop a unique identity, in contrast to the French fashions worn in Spain. Gandayas were characterized by a lavish hanging tassel, which swayed loosely, followed the movements of whoever wore it, and captivated everyone’s attention. They soon became the distinctive accessory the majos. Élite society in Madrid adopted majos’ fashions, which struck them as picturesque and patriotic. Replacing their fashionable French headwear with a gandaya became a subversive act and the dress of the female ‘majas’ was even banned for a short period of time in the 1780s. As gandayas were worn by both men and women, they challenged traditional gender roles and appearances.

The donor of the object, Pamela Sanguinetti, inherited this gandaya from her mother, Lady Pauline Peto, who probably acquired it in one of her trips to Spain.

Physical description

A hair bonnet of red silk of circular hand knitting in a round shape, with a pattern of chevrons and lozenges. It has a long, hand-made tassel with a series of complex knots.

Place of Origin

Spain (made)


1750 - 1800 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Silk, hand-knitted, hand-knotted


Length: 21 cm edge to crown, Width: 25 cm bottom edge

Descriptive line

A man or woman's hair bonnet, Spanish, 1750-1800; hand-knitted red silk 'gandaya' or 'gandalla'

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

May, F.L. Hispanic Lace and Lace Making. New York 1939. Fig. 94, Pages 43-45 & 89.
Hart and North, Historical Fashion in Detail: The 17th and 18th Centuries, V&A, 1998, pp.128-129
de Lorenzo, Victoria, 'T.176-1958 Not Just a Cap' http://www.academia.edu/11224925/T.176-1958_not_just_a_cap


Silk thread


Hand knitting; Knotting


Hats & headwear; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.