Earlier 18th Century Caps

Even though the Struggle for Liberty re-enactment at Fort Ticonderoga is set during the Revolution, since the stays I made a while ago are 1730s/1740s, the rest of my outfit is going to be dated to that period as well.  I didn't want to make a later-period jacket to fit to that silhouette and not be able to wear it in its proper period once I had the right stays!  I've been looking at cap tutorials online, but most of them seem aimed at the 1770s, so I'm looking at pictures from earlier in the century and will adapt the tutorials once I understand exactly what I want.




(NB: As of now, these are all from the Met.  I find their online collection database to be the largest and easiest to sort by date, which is why most of my museum research posts are based there.)

First, paintings and drawings.  You can magnify most of them when you follow the link, and zoom in on the

Woman with Lilacs and Eggs, Chardin, 1725-1750

The Strong Family, Charles Philips, 1732

Card Players in a Drawing Room, Dumesnil the Younger, 1740s

Double Portrait, Charles Antoine Coypel, 1743

Study of a Woman, Joseph van Aken, 1740-1760

The Letter, Pietro Lunghi, 1746

Girl Building a House of Cards, Thomas Frye, ca. 1750

Serving Girl Knitting, André Buoys, ca. 1750

Florentine Woman in a Butterfly Cap, Jean-Baptiste Greuze, 1755

Broken Eggs, Greuze, 1756

A Dance in the Country, Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, 1755

Portrait of a Woman, Johann Nikolaus Grooth, ca. 1760

 It looks to me like it was most common for women to wear caps with two defined, symmetrical ruffles, or one that sort of dips in at the top of the head. The higher the social class, the more hair could be shown in front.  Though some have ribbon bows that wrap around the head, others don't appear to.

Second, extant caps.  It's difficult to separate babies' from adults' (or those of children who are old enough to be dressed like adults) when they're photographed flat, but I think I found some women's caps.  I date them to roughly the right time period based on the paintings - most of what comes up when you search for caps were accessioned in the early twentieth century, before people began studying costume history in a serious way, and there's no attempt to date them beyond their century.  In worst-case scenarios, they're labeled "1700-1945".

MMA 43.130.9

MMA 21.136.6

MMA 50.80.5

MMA 9.68.607

MMA 9.68.690


The lace cap above is too high in station for my outfit, but the rest are all right.  What I find interesting is that all of the caps I looked at had either trailing strings for tying under the chin (which I assumed were for babies) or a drawstring in back.  (Or a channel for one.)  So I'm thinking that's how I'm going to go.  Although it's interesting that all of these have pretty even single brims - although maybe they had two ruffles attached, which were reused on another cap when these were put away?  That makes the most sense to me at this point.

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