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TODAY IS HOLOCAUST DAY

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Exactly two years ago today, I Googled the label inside one of the hats in the Collection, to see if there was any information about the milliner who had made it.   To my astonishment,  there was quite a large amount,  and the story of  FANNY BERGER ,  a young and talented milliner,  came to my notice.

image-16This is one of the only two surviving pictures of her.    She had the misfortune to be Jewish,  and her story  is told in my latest page, entitled  Fanny Berger, the Jewish Milliner.

The hat in question is a small black straw, with a few tatty feathers still attached.   It has caused quite a stir amongst fashion historians

Please read it, and ‘like’ the page.        This is truly

HISTORY ON YOUR HEAD

   

WHAT DID JOHN WAYNE, LARRY HAGLER and the DUKE & DUCHESS of CAMBRIDGE have in common ?

BOX 103 P5/18-19

They have all been seen wearing ‘STETSONs’   …   the original cowboy hat.    Find out how this iconic hat was first made, and read about its history.   See new page , “FELT HATS  4; The STETSON ”

This is quite an old one;   estimated around 1930’s/40’s, which came in an original decorated cardboard box, illustrated with ‘ American houses’,   see below.

BOX 103 P5/18-19

BIGHEAD !

Do you have any idea how much bigger the human race has become ?   I don’t just mean in terms of obesity…..I mean that the whole substance of our bodies is much larger than in times gone by.

BOX 96        P4/ 91-92

 

This is often made obvious when trying on some of the older hats from the collection, for example this one, photographed on my standard model, known as Edith  (see ‘Meet My People’).   Here the lovely silk bonnet is just perched on her head,

 

pale peach silk satin bonnet  new picture.Aug 2015

 

 

but see how different it is on a much smaller model ( Belinda )  where it really looks as it was intended.   This is from about 1850.   Sadly, the silk is beginning to shatter across the top, but I have been able to get it back to some sort of shape….it was rather flattened and very dusty when I got it.

This whole aspect of size was made very evident recently, when I went to Killerton,(National Trust property just outside Exeter in Devon) with the Southern Counties Costume Society,    and we had a fascinating afternoon looking at some of their costume collection……..the people who wore these clothes were tiny .   In order to display them properly, specially made figures have to be commissioned; and they are quite a different height, size and shape to today’s people.    Men’s jackets are made with much more sloping shoulders and higher necklines, and women’s dresses would only fit today’s ten year olds.   It follows also, that their heads were smaller….which is why antique hats, and even vintage ones, will not go on our modern heads.

 

MYSTERY SOLVED

MYSTERY SOLVEDThe beautiful piece of ethnic embroidery shown in the page ‘a mystery piece…from where?’  has been identified I am pleased to say.   Intrigued by the article, my computer teacher made her own search, and has come up with the answer.

Mystery piece of ethnic embroidered headgear (7)

 

It is a traditional piece from the originally nomadic tribe in  northern India called the BANJARA, and was probably made in the early twentieth century, using vegetable dyes.     Settlement of the people has meant that these tribal pieces have lost their relevance, and they are often sold to traders who sell them on to the West.  This piece of headcovering is known as a ‘gala’, which is usually of cotton, completely handspun and woven, then covered completely in incredibly close chainstitch embroidery.  The motifs seem to be traditional…they appear on other pieces, as does the fairly random use of coloured thread .

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NEW PAGE to HISTORY ON YOUR HEAD

A couple of great new (old) photographs have come my way.

The first appears in the new piece  ‘Felt hats 3.. the Homburg’   showing the then Prince of Wales in his new-style hat.006

 

 

 

The second, shown below, is an Edwardian photograph on a glass negative, five inches by four and a quarter….known in the trade as a ‘quarter plate’.   Other regular sizes were   ‘half plate'( six and a half by four and three quarters), ‘whole plate’ (eight  and a half by six and a half), and  ‘ten eight’.   This is inches we are talking about here.   Centimetres were never in the frame !   Printing paper came in these sizes, and much larger as well…12×10, 15×12 and 20x 16 were all sizes stocked by the average commercial darkroom.   The larger size was  always quoted first !   In another life, I was a photographic retoucher, long before the computer was invented, and when I first started we still worked occasionally on glass negatives !    Flexible negatives made of a light sensitive emulsion laid on a stiff gelatin base came next.   These then had to be ‘printed’ to get a positive image.  Photoshop and the like could not even be imagined back in the late 1950’s.

Three Edwardian gents, from a glass neg bought at Ardingly Antiques fair in 2015.  £2  !!

Three Edwardian gents, from a glass neg bought at Ardingly Antiques fair in 2015. £2 !!

Not a very good reproduction of it, but the ‘billycock’ bowler and loud check jacket are so splendid I can’t resist  showing it to you.   The other two are wearing boaters, and all three seem to be smartly dressed…I wonder what the occasion was ?    I should think the date is about 1910.

HISTORY ON YOUR HEAD

BOX 163  P10/16FOR OVER 50 YEARS, Himself and I have collected hats and headgear.   The collection encompasses  ‘anything that anyone has ever worn on their head, for any reason whatsoever’.    The oldest item is a fine silk calash bonnet from around 1775, the newest , a hat made of modern materials at the beginning of the 2000’s.   And everything in between !

 

CD 5B         P2/ 77-78

 

In the pages that follow, I want to show you some of the amazing variety of headgear, and tell you some of their history, and some fascinating personal stories.   Go to the ‘INTRODUCTION’, then  ‘SOME ITEMS FROM the COLLECTION’ to see a fraction of this diversity, and then follow some of the styles and materials in the menu.