Monday, October 17, 2011

Poke Bonnet

From the seller:

Rare American Shaker Woman's Summer Bonnet
Mint Condition, Circa 1845 - 1855
The origin of this finely-woven summer bonnet is from the Shaker settlement in Canterbury, New Hampshire where a colony of about 300 people lived in the 1800s.    I purchased the bonnet in 1996 from a reputable antiques dealer in Manchester, VT (since retired) who specialized in Shaker furniture and accessories and antiques from the 17th and 18th centuries.  
 It was probably woven from palm leaf, rye or oat straw and is in excellent condition with no stains, discoloration, tears or repairs.  The bonnet has maintained its original shape perfectly.   The mesh weaving is very intricate throughout the hat.  There is a thin piece of canvas sewn onto the base of the bonnet along the back edge where a "cape" could have been attached for sun protection.  The #5 inside the hat may indicate the size of the bonnet or the weaver.   This bonnet is museum quality and would be a great addition to any Shaker collection.

From Me:

I'm sure this little bonnet had more silk and decoration when it was originally worn (it had to have ribbon ties at least!).  It's still a cute example of a hat from the early Victorian period.

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