Hat thumbnail 1
Hat thumbnail 2
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
Not currently on display at the V&A
On short term loan out for exhibition

Hat

1590-1670 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Beaver fur; felted, blocked
Brief Description
A man's or woman's hat, 1590-1670, English; black beaver felt, mid-height crown, wide brim
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.
Dimensions
  • Overall height: 17.2cm
  • Crown height: 17.0cm
  • Overall diameter: 36.5cm
  • Crown at base circumference: 54.5cm
  • Crown at top circumference: 44.0cm
  • Felt at edge of brim thickness: 2.7mm
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.)
Credit line
Given by Lady Spickernell
Object history
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
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.
Summary
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.
Bibliographic Reference
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
Collection
Accession Number
T.22-1938

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record createdJune 24, 2009
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