>Sepia Saturday 71: The difference a well chosen hat makes

>Image © and collection of Brett Payne
Image © and collection of Brett Payne

A hat is a shameless flatterer, calling attention to an escaping curl, a tawny braid, a sprinkling of freckles over a pert nose, directing the eye to what is most unique about a face. Its curves emphasize a shining pair of eyes, a lofty forehead; its deep brim accentuates the pale tint of a cheek, creates an aura of prettiness, suggests a mystery that awakens curiosity in the onlooker.

by Jeanine Larmoth, author , one time copy editor of Harpers Bazaar and a contributing editor at Town & Country, courtesy of The Hat Ladies of Charleston, whose annual Easter Promenade looks like a lot of fun. If you happen to be in Charleston, South Carolina this Saturday between 11:00 and 11:30, be sure to go well armed with both hat and camera.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne Image © and collection of Brett Payne
Unfortunately there are slim pickings relating to millinery in my small library, so for dating I must rely to a large extent on an analysis of the card mount. This study of card mounts from the studio of Derby photographer W.W. Winter suggests that these two designs (Type XX – nine medals, gold; Type XXI – sixteen medals) were used with some degree of overlap from 1886 (latest medal depicted on Type XX), through 1888 (latest medal on XXI) to 1890. The negative number 69304 is written clearly in pencil on the reverse of the bonnet portrait, and this appears to correlate with other portraits in my Winter portfolio taken around 1889-1890. The identities of these two patient sisters who obediently struck a pose for the photographer, either several times on the same occasion, or on subsequent visits, was sadly not recorded. It would be nice to think that at least one of the visits was part of a sunny Easter outing.

My contribution to this week’s edition of the Sepia Saturday series, “a potential Easter parade of rabbits, bonnets, and eggs.”


~ by gluepot on Wednesday, April 20, 2011.

12 Responses to “>Sepia Saturday 71: The difference a well chosen hat makes”

  1. >After you see the second picture, the first picture looks like it is missing something.

  2. >How stunning to see those lovely curls framed by those bonnets. Adorable.

  3. >Absolutely adorable with the hats! Yes, what a difference. Thanks for sharing!

  4. >Although the hats are adorable, am I the only one who prefers the first photo? I can see their eyes and their faces so clearly in the first one. It somehow seems more intimate.

  5. >Oh this was very cool info…love the poem and the first photo the child on the left appears it could be her brother, don't you think? Only in the first photo! Have a great weekend!

  6. >The little girls are darling in their Easter finery. I have never been into hats, outside of a red one in the 80's and an occasional baseball cap … but they do add so much, especially to a photo.I hope that you have a wonderful Easter Weekend!Kathy M.PS – I re-posted my link, if you had a hard time seeing it the first time around, I'm sorry.

  7. >In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it, you'll be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade.

  8. >Beautiful! The second photo shows serenity mixed with sparkle! These look like subsequent photos – but not an entire year – perhaps 6 months or so.

  9. >I had no idea that a hat could make such a difference. I'm off shopping for a flattering piece of headwear tomorrow! Jo

  10. >in the first card I was so drawn to their eyes; in the 2nd another lovely photo, the hats diminished the eyes…..very interesting comparison

  11. >I do wish I was able to visit an Easter Parade but I will have to watch the old movie instead. Thank you for another interesting post.

  12. >I prefer the first picture too. The second one reminds me of Little Bo-Peep! I love old photographs of children, and treasure a 1978 book by Alison Mager, 'Children of the Past in Photographic Portraits' which has 165 examples of this type of postcard. You may know it. Anyone who can get children to pose for the cameras (and smile) has my lasting admiration.

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