Late 1880s into early 1890s black velvet hat has a small, charmingly ruffled crown set far back in a wide, flaring brim. Tucked up in the back, the brim features shirring around the crown, connected by a lacy French jet bead insertion to its wired (and also shirred) black velvet edge.
A band of black silk, knotted at regular intervals, accentuates the base of the velvet crown, while the hat’s wavy brim edge gracefully echoes the ruffled treatment at the top.
Hat has a black silk drawstring liner; only label present is a cloth museum inventory tag.
The lack of additional trim on the hat may indicate that it was worn for mourning, or perhaps any plumes, ribbons, bows, or veiling—attached at one time with a few expert stitches--have been removed. In either case, black velvet and jet bead ornamentation were very much in vogue in the late 1880s and early 1890s; as one 1890 newspaper article reports: “Jet and black velvet are the component parts of most of the new bonnets”.
Even more pertinent to the style of hat being offered here, an 1889 article declares that: “Broad brimmed black velvet hats are shown with an insertion or cut jet passementerie on wire let into the brim, and this gives them a particularly light and graceful appearance".
Photo #9 shows illustrations of two hats from 1890 which share features in common with the one being offered here; on top, a wide, wavy brim, and on the bottom, a small crown set towards the back, where the brim is turned up.
Measurements are: 16” around inside the crown (the hat was clearly meant to “perch”!) and 14” diameter front to back/15” diameter side to side (measured underneath the hat). Crown height is 2” and brim width in front is 7”.
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