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.
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."