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Regency turban hat of straw & ribbons, c1800-1810, with provenance

Regency turban hat of straw & ribbons, c1800-1810, with provenance

All my regulars know how bonnets & caps are just my favourite things. Over the years I have managed to source a number of Georgian caps, but bonnets are so rare, and I have only ever found one outdoor hat from the Regency era once before. So this hat is very special indeed.

It came from Sizergh Castle in Cumbria, along with the finest collection of Georgian clothing I have seen for years, many pieces selling for thousands of pounds. But this was my more modest prize and I am thrilled with it! All were sold recently at the Kerry Taylor 'Passion for Fashion' sale.

Having said that, this hat is FRAGILE, and I am putting extra photographs of the damage onto my Blog page, so please do not purchase until you see these first.

The hat should ideally be renovated, and the National Trust recently gave me a list of textile conservation centres throughout the UK. So, if you live in the UK I can send the list to you. From my brief research, they generally charge £38-44 per hour for their conservation work.

This delightful piece is typical of the early Regency period, being asymmetric in shape, and of a turban style. Many fashion plates of the period show ladies wearing both 'soft' and 'hard' turban hats.

The hat is a miracle in structure, being shaped from a wire foundation, onto which is wound straw, through which is threaded tiny narrow ribbons of silk, some of 2 colours merged. The clever design even enables the sweetest tiny narrow brim!

As extra decoration, there is a lovely tilted rosette of silk cord with long fringing, the centre of the rosette being embroidered with criss-cross lines.

Whilst stuffed with tissue or a head block, the hat feels quite stable, but once the stuffing is removed, one immediately senses how fragile it is.

It measures 33cm or 13" long, and I have purchased a strong box for shipping it safely.

  • CONDITION - Basic

    This is a short description of the condition of the hat, but it is very important that you also see the extra photographs on my Blog page before buying.

    The hat is very rare and really is worth considering conservation, when of course the value will rise.

    The first thing to say is that the hat is extremely clean, as is everything from this Castle group. The ribbon colours may be faded a little but this is a very minor point. The rosette is immaculate, but appears to be simply pinned in place.

    There are sections of the hat, especially to one side, where the straw work has been completely lost. In these areas, the ribbons have fallen loose as they have nothing to support them. The ribbons do seem to be present and strong enough; at the moment they are lying in the inside of the hat. 

    The main issue is that the straw has fractured at three important areas of the brim. The breaks in the straw in these key area's cause the hat to feel very unstable when it is without any padding to support it. I was able to remove the tissue padding and place the hat on a head block quite safely, but it will not tolerate much movement. 

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