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Not quite a Gainsborough - but just as romantic!

Not quite a Gainsborough - but just as romantic!

When Georgiana Cavandish, the Duchess of Devonshire, was painted by Gainsborough around 1785, her large hat set a trend that was to be admired over a hundred years later, when the 'Gainsborough hat' was revived by the Edwardians.

I once examined a Gainsborough hat and I will never forget it, with a huge brim that thankfully went to a museum in England, or I would have struggled to ship it.

This smaller brimmed straw hat is not so large, but it is just as romantic and decorated exactly the same! The Edwardians, especially in the earlier years, decorated their hats for ladies as if emulating a garden, with so many flowers and feathers we want to just sit in the centre and admire!

Here we have a stunning colour combination, the leaves slightly fading with age, but the flowers and blue velvet ribbon are very fresh. So typical of the period.

If you have the marvellous book 'Vintage Hats & Bonnets, 1770 - 1970' by Susan Langley [full reference in The Study] you will find quite a few examples of similar creations in the 1900-1910 section. They are all extremely feminine and pretty!

A beautiful Edwardian hat from a private collection. 

Please see the condition report below.


    The hat decorations are lovely, apart from the leaves having lost some colour and a couple being a little folded over. Pin them down for a while.

    Look underneath and the lining to the inside has a rather bold 1904 hand written inside. I wish it wasn't, but it may be that the rather grand family who owned it knew the owner. The date is about right.

    The straw has three faults: first, a tiny hole as shown. Next, a quite long but careful repair to one part of the brim. Finally, a section where the joint of straw has split. Probably also repairable, but the hat remains quite stable as it is.

    All clean and fresh otherwise.

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