The New Bonnet

Artist: Eastman Johnson (American, Lovell, Maine 1824–1906 New York)

Date: 1876

Medium: Oil on academy board

Dimensions: 20 3/4 x 27 in. (52.7 x 68.6 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Bequest of Collis P. Huntington, 1900

Accession Number: 25.110.11


During the 1870s, Johnson found inspiration on Nantucket, a Massachusetts island that preserved reassuring American traditions in an era of change. In an old-fashioned kitchen, a young woman shows off a new plumed hat to her more simply clothed sister. Their father, having returned with the shopper, warms his hands at the fireside and waits for the beverage being prepared by his more restrained daughter. The older man and the humble interior, exuding respect for the past, are in strong counterpoint to the fashionable daughter and her purchase. Johnson’s narrative commemorates time gone by and takes note of rising consumerism.