c1750 Baby Bonnet
This summer's (rather sporadic) Museum Monday is a charming baby bonnet from the mid 18th c, 745.2013.63. It is a deaccession from the Met's costume collection, and I am honored to be its keeper. One sees so many white baby caps...if you are 'into' early baby clothes, usually all one can see stretching endlessly in front of them is a sea of whites~ white gowns, nappys, caps, bonnets, breeches, petticoats~ everything is white....so it seems....but in truth, early childrens and infant's clothing was quite colorful. This blue and salmon color combination was a favorite in the 18th C.
Bonnet is made of an outside layer of thin tissue silk or lustring, and lined inside in a thick napped wool. The construction is somewhat unique, being made up of 5 tapered segments. I have seen a handful of segmented baby bonnets, none of which have a definitive date attached with them. The Met estimated this one's date to be between 1750-60. (I have yet to find reference to a segmented baby bonnet in early fashion plates, tho I have found womens day caps with somewhat similar segmentation in an 1805 fashion plate). Hand made silk fly braid trim covers the seams of each segment.
The center crown ends in a large loupe of fly braid ~ not quite making a full pom, but still a nice finish that trembles about then the cap is moved.
Fly fringe is made by knotting strands of filament silk, cutting the ends to make little tufts, and then working the tufts of knotted silk into a braid or woven tape trim. There are salmon colored tufts and white & navy blue stripe tufts to coordinate perfectly with the blue and salmon colored silks of the cap.
The face edge is trimmed in box pleated loosely woven silk gauze
Inside the cap is lined with wool. The nap has been brushed up and left slightly long making for a super buttery soft cushion for baby's head. The same segmented construction is on the inside lining, as the outside. Face and neck edges are bound in skye blue silk to finish.