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Doll's cap

  • Place of origin:

    London, England (made)

  • Date:

    1690-1700 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    unknown (production)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Lawn edged in bobbin lace, wire covered with muslin, cotton, linen, silk taffeta ribbon, lined with silk

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased by public subscription

  • Museum number:

    T.846N to P-1974

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, room 54b, case 3

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Object Type
This cap was made for a doll, known as Lady Clapham, that is thought to have belonged to the Cockerell family, descendants of the diarist Samuel Pepys (1633-1703). The daughter of Pepys's nephew John Jackson (the son of his sister Pauline) married a Cockerell, who had a family home in Clapham, south London.

Designs & Designing
Lady Clapham offers a fine example of both formal and informal dress for a wealthy woman in the 1690s (Museum nos. T.846&A to Y-1974). Her formal outfit includes a mantua (gown) and petticoat, while her informal dress is represented by the nightgown (a dressing gown rather than a garment worn to bed) and petticoat. Accessories such as the stockings, cap and chemise (a body garment) are very valuable since very few items from such an early period survive in museum collections. Equally important is the demonstration of how these clothes were worn together.

Ownership & Use
Dolls were widely produced in the 17th century, although very few survive, due to the wear and tear they usually undergo. The high quality of Lady Clapham and her clothes indicates that she would have been expensive. There is little evidence of use, which suggests that she was admired by adults rather than played with by children.

Physical description

Circular doll's cap consisting of the cap, wire and ribbon. The cap is made of spotted lawn edged in English bobbin lace which falls into two lappets on either side of the face. It has a graduated double frill ('Monte la haut'), a narrower frill in front and a taller frill behind. The frill is supported by a wire covered in muslin formed in a semi-circle with eight radiating spokes graduating to the highest in the centre. The cap is circled with pink silk taffeta ribbon which is twisted about the cap, and is tied in two bows and lined with brown silk. The ribbon is padded in between and sewn to a cotton band which forms a base to attach to the doll's head. The cap is secured by a linen cord drawn through the back breadth.

Place of Origin

London, England (made)

Date

1690-1700 (made)

Artist/maker

unknown (production)

Materials and Techniques

Lawn edged in bobbin lace, wire covered with muslin, cotton, linen, silk taffeta ribbon, lined with silk

Dimensions

[Cap (headgear)] Height: 33 cm
[Wire] Length: 13 cm

Object history note

The doll is thought to have belonged to the Cockerell family, descendants of Samuel Pepys. The daughter of Pepys' nephew John Jackson(son of his sister, Pauline) married a Cockerell. The doll and its partner were named 'Lord' and 'Lady' of the family home in Clapham.

Historical significance: The doll and its partner are costume documents; their clothes being, in style, cut and material, perfect miniatures of the fashions of the late 17th century. Their importance is underlined by the almost total lack of other good visual source material for this period, whether pictorial or in the form of surviving garments. In particular the survival of accessories and the informal garments is extremely rare.

Historical context note

Dolls were widely produced in the 17th century, although very few survive. It is most unlikely that these particular examples were the playthings of children. Their production is of a high quality; almost all the accessories survive and there is little wear and tear on the dolls and their garments. The dolls were most probably purchased for the amusement of adults, and as a decorative accessory to a home.

Descriptive line

Doll's lawn cap with wire and ribbon, London, 1690-1700

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

Hillier, Mary, Pollock's Dictionary of English Dolls, London: Robert Hale Ltd., 1982, 51, 202pp. ill

Labels and date

British Galleries:
These dolls were probably made for the amusement of adults at home, as were dolls' houses at this time. They were named 'Lord and Lady' of the family home in Clapham, London by their owners, the Cockerell family. The outfits of the dolls are perfect miniatures of London fashions of 1690 and 1700. She wears a mantua (gown) of Chinese silk over stays (a stiff corset), with an under-wired cap and high-heeled shoes. [27/03/2003]

Materials

Cotton; Silk; Muslin; Wire; Bobbin lace

Techniques

Hand sewing; Lace making

Categories

British Galleries; Textiles; Clothing; Dolls & Toys; Accessories; Hats & headwear; Lace

Collection code

T&F

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