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Hat

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1590-1670 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Beaver fur; felted, blocked

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Lady Spickernell

  • Museum number:

    T.22-1938

  • Gallery location:

    On short term loan out for exhibition

Felt hats in a wide variety of styles were worn by both men and women in the late 16th and throughout the 17th centuries. They were appropriate riding head wear for aristocratic women, and were worn indoors and out by middle-class and gentry women.

Hat-making was a complicated procedure and by the 17th century it was often divided into the two crafts of felt-making and hatting. In the former, the fur -- either beaver or rabbit -- was removed from the pelt and shaped and felted into a cone-shaped hood. The hatter purchased these felt hoods and shaped them over a wooden block to create the desired height of crown and width of brim. The hats were then dyed, smoothed and trimmed.

Physical description

A man's or woman's hat made of a single piece of felt from beaver fur, with a wide brim and mid-height, flat-topped crown. The pack threads used in the blocking process are visible at the base of the crown and the initials 'FM' stamped on them.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

1590-1670 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Beaver fur; felted, blocked

Marks and inscriptions

F M
Stamped over the impression of the pack threads used to shape the felt hood, possibly the initials of the hatter who did the final blocking and finishing of the hat.

Dimensions

Height: 17.2 cm overall, Height: 17.0 cm crown, Diameter: 36.5 cm overall, Circumference: 54.5 cm crown at base, Circumference: 44.0 cm crown at top, Thickness: 2.7 mm felt at edge of brim

Object history note

Donated by Lady Spickernell in 1938, with a collection of 17th century hats and men's wear, which came from her mother's side of the family, the Cottons of Etwall Hall in Derbyshire.

Historical context note

Felt hats in a wide variety of styles were worn by men and women in the late 16th and throughout the 17th centuries. They were appropriate riding head wear for aristocratic women and were worn indoors and out by middle-class and gentry women.

Descriptive line

A man's or woman's hat, 1590-1670, English; black beaver felt, mid-height crown, wide brim

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

Lucas, Armelle, 'Beaver Hat', in North, Susan and Jenny Tiramani, eds, Seventeenth-Century Women’s Dress Patterns, vol.2, London: V&A Publishing, 2012, pp.144-145

Materials

Beaver fur

Techniques

Felting; Blocking

Categories

Hats & headwear; Europeana Fashion Project; Fashion

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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