Cap

16th century (made)
Cap thumbnail 1
Cap thumbnail 2
+2
images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Medieval & Renaissance, Room 62, The Foyle Foundation Gallery
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This cap was discovered in an old house in Worship Street, East London. It is knitted with thick, reddish brown wool in stocking stitch. It has been felted, cut and re-sewn to make two overlapping brims, and blocked into its finished form.

Excavations of late medieval and Renaissance artefacts have revealed a large number of similar caps. They were an important item of everyday clothing and are mentioned in a law called the Cappers Act of 1571. This decreed the type of headgear that every English resident over the age of six and below the rank of 'gentleman' should wear on Sundays and holidays. It specified ‘a cap of wool, thickened and dressed in England, made within this realm and only dressed and finished by some of the trade of cappers, upon pain to forfeit for every day of not wearing 3s. 4d’. The aim of this Act of Parliament was to protect the trade of cap-making.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Cap (Headgear)
  • Lining
Materials and Techniques
Knitted and felted wool
Brief Description
Wool, knitted and fulled, with layered brims, English, 1500s
Physical Description
Felted cap knitted in thick reddish brown wool with two overlapping brims.
Dimensions
  • Diameter: 10.75in
Gallery Label
9. CAP Hand-knitted wool English, 16th century This cap was partly knitted to shape, then heavily felted, cut, sewn and blocked. One of the earliest mentions of such a cap is in an Act of 1488 which fixed the price of felted wool hats at 1s.8d and of knitted wool caps at 2s.8d. By the Capper's Act of 1571 it was laid down that everyone over the age of six (excepting 'maids, ladies, gentlewomen, noble personages, and every Lord, Knight, and gentleman of twenty marks land') should wear on Sundays and holidays 'a cap of wool, thicked and dressed in England, made within this realm, and only dressed and finished by some of the trade of cappers, upon pain to forfeit for every day of not wearing 3s 4d.' 1562-1901
Summary
This cap was discovered in an old house in Worship Street, East London. It is knitted with thick, reddish brown wool in stocking stitch. It has been felted, cut and re-sewn to make two overlapping brims, and blocked into its finished form.



Excavations of late medieval and Renaissance artefacts have revealed a large number of similar caps. They were an important item of everyday clothing and are mentioned in a law called the Cappers Act of 1571. This decreed the type of headgear that every English resident over the age of six and below the rank of 'gentleman' should wear on Sundays and holidays. It specified ‘a cap of wool, thickened and dressed in England, made within this realm and only dressed and finished by some of the trade of cappers, upon pain to forfeit for every day of not wearing 3s. 4d’. The aim of this Act of Parliament was to protect the trade of cap-making.
Bibliographic Reference
Levey, Santina M. Illustrations of the History of Knitting Selected from the Collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Textile History Volume 1, Number 2, December 1969. Plate IV.
Collection
Accession Number
1562&A-1901

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record createdDecember 13, 2004
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