Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Bonnet

Date:
1890
Culture:
American
Medium:
silk, feathers
Credit Line:
Gift of Susan Dwight Bliss, 1937
Accession Number:
37.144.2
Not on view
In the nineteenth century sentiment and exhibitionism propelled women of fashion to adopt hats and bonnets with elaborate plumage. Regarded as coquettish when placed jauntily on the side of the head, headdresses boasted sprays, wings, and even entire carcasses. Doves, swallows, and birds of paradise were particularly fashionable. In London a woman was observed in a hat with finch heads, while another proudly displayed the plumage of the robin. Since the mid-nineteenth century the cavalier manner in which birds were sacrificed on the altar of vanity led to the formation of such bird protection organizations as the Audubon Society in America and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in England. Still active today, these antiplumage movements continue to focus upon the propriety of wearing feathers by questioning our ideas about nature and the environment.
Marking: [label] "PARIS/EMW/55 East 10th Street/New York/U.S./E. Sullivan & Co./Successors to/E.M. Walsh
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