This week's Museum Monday lucky number is 713! This piece is one of the earliest hair pieces I have in the collection~ one every so often sees the 1830's era false curls ladys would wear on the side of their heads, that are attached to little combs....but an entire cap, this early, is a wonder to behold. I have given it a soft date of 1830's, but if one looks into fashion plates, or early dolls, you will find this coiffure with back coronet popular in the 18teens. German mache dolls were commonly sent to France to have their wigs made in the 1830s, with side treatment and wig binding the same as this one, so really anytime during the first few decades of the 19th c one could have seen this piece on say, their best friend that had quite a bit of money, and thin hair.
It has been plaited from real horsehair, with the underside woven in a series of loupes~ this acts as a padding of sorts, any maybe gave the wearer something to pin their real hair to....
One would leave out bangs around the face, and work them up over the binding to hide it. With no shampoo available at the time, I would suppose hair had to commonly have this 'glaze' effect, from all the oils, so this shiny horsehair would blend in well. The entire piece is horsehair, save for the applied cotton tape ties
The workmanship is truly amazing. It would really be interesting to know how long a wig like this took to make~ and was the entire process mechanized some how? The front band is so tight and perfectly woven, its hard to find the ends of the horsehair
Even the ties around the plaited loupes in the coronet are horsehair. Its a real privileged to have it, and am so happy to share it today!
The Lady's Repository Museum is a privately owned museum dedicated to the collection, preservation and study of unique early American fashions of both women and children, the later being a specialty.
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