In order to take decent pictures of all the hats in the collection it has been useful to acquire some heads to put them on. We now have four…two male and two female. They have all come from Antique Fairs of one sort and another over the years, and have become real characters…..so each one has had to have a suitable name.
First we have EDITH , who has probably been used the most. It is astonishing how different styles of hat make her look quite different.
Edith is made of plaster, about one centimetre thick, hollow in the middle, with her ‘hair’ dressed in a fiftyish way. In the early pictures, her complexion is quite smooth, but exposure to sunlight has given her some nasty lines. I have some Milliput and some paint with which to give her a facial…..one day !
Next is BELINDA. She is much younger, and badly needs a nose job. Unlike the others, she has shoulders; but sadly no arms. (And no hair either, so she wears one of our collection of wigs) She is useful as her head size is slightly smaller than Edith’s. She also has splendid eyelashes.
A great many of the earlier hats are noticeably on the small size. This applies to men’s headgear as well. As a race, we humans are increasing in stature, and it becomes quite noticeable in the circumference of the head. Yesterday’s hats just will not fit today’s heads. So Belinda, with her smaller head, and sometimes even without her wig, is extremely useful.
We also have some polystyrene heads, some white, some painted black, and even these have been pressed into service on occasion, when something just will not stay in place, and then the ability to pin the hat on makes life much easier.
This is ARCHIE. He is made of wood, and comes on a ridiculously small stand, so needs careful balancing. He is covered in paint; a lot of it silver. He has quite a debonair look about him, and has modelled a great many of our men’s hats.
It is quite difficult to date him, but I suspect he could be as early as the 1930’s I love his eyebrows !
Finally comes GRAHAM. He is the last one to join the family, and has no stand. However, after much experimentation with rolled cardboard tubing and an old candlestick, he is now able to display hats to the world.
I think he is made of the same sort of plaster as Edith, but he has proper (if somewhat coarse) hair, and piercing glass eyes which look straight at you in a somewhat disconcerting manner. His head size is considerably larger than Archie’s , which makes him very useful for some of the larger hats like Stetsons and helmets. Some of his hair is missing on the top, giving him a tonsured appearance, but fortunately that is always covered by the hat he is wearing.
The four of them sit neatly in a row in the spare bedroom,minding their own business, but if visitors come, I usually cover them with a sheet, in case the unsuspecting visitor wakes in the night and is horrified to find they have company.