18th Century Women’s Hats

Last updated: Jan 7, 2024

This primarily deals with broad hats, especially straw hats. (Calashes, bonnets, and caps can be found elsewhere on this site.)

  • Williamsburg 1969-265,1, “woven in an intricate pattern of linked oval medallions enclosed in diamond lozenges which converge at center crown to form a five-pointed star,” worn in England c. 1675-1725
  • Met 1998.230, wool and silk, Germany, c. 1720-1750
  • Met 2006.588, silk (covered straw hat?), Italy, c. 1720-1750
  • MFA 43.1831, painted straw bergère hat, Switzerland, c. 1730-1800
  • NFA 43.1835, painted straw bergère hat, Switzerland, c. 1730-1800
  • Williamsburg 1953-868, horsehair and bast fiber, England, 1745-1775
  • LACMA M.82.8.8, a bergére in silk, wood, paper, and silk tulle, England, c. 1750
  • Royal Albert Memorial Museum 28/1969, a bergere hat made of paper with a silk lining, ribbon, and lace trim, England, c. 1750
  • Met C.I.69.15.1, straw bergére, Britain
  • MFA 48.1833, straw bergère with straw appliqué, France
  • MFA 43.1613, silk hat trimmed with straw appliqué, France (?)
  • Met 13.49.35, Britain
  • National Trust 1349841, chip hat with cotton print lining, c. 1750-1760
  • V&A T.90-2003, Britain, c. 1750-1770; “feathers of common origin, such as those from cocks or guinea fowl, dyed in a variety of colours for a vivid effect.” A similar hat is worn by a girl in V&A 833-1873 (“Head of a Girl Wearing a White Hat” by William Hoare) and A School for Girls by Philip Mercier.
  • MFA 38.1328, English or French straw hat, c. 1750-1775
  • Met 1984.140, raffia hat trimmed with silk, Britain, c. 1760; good detail of the inside of the hat, where the ribbons are attached
  • Colonial Williamsburg 2018-227, a silk-covered straw hat, Europe/England, c. 1760s; “Wide brimmed hat with small, shallow crown of plaited straw. The hat top has been covered in a pattern woven red silk with small floral buds and circles halved by two different patterns within the shape resembling stylized acorns in groups of three. At the crown, the silk appears to have been gathered and sewn at the top, after which a circular 4.25 inch piece of the same silk was attached with the raw edges turned under to create the finished appearance. Around the perimeter of the hat crown is a length of cream silk plain woven ribbon gathered and made into 10 loops with a bow at back. The underside of the hat is covered in a cream plain woven silk. The interior crown, the construction work is exposed, showing the cream silk cut into eight points and adhered to the straw. This was probably covered with an additional circle of silk to conceal the construction details and provide a cleaner, more finished final product. At either side of the interior crown are a pair of 2 inch wide plain woven cream silk ties. Each ribbon measures 15 inches long but may have been shortened over time.”
  • V&A 158-1865, Italy or England, 1760s; “embroidered with straw-work flowers on crown and around brim; wreath of straw flowers around crown”
  • Williamsburg 2018-227, straw hat covered in pattern-woven red silk and lined in cream plain-woven silk, Europe or England, c. 1760s
  • Met 1997.369, made of paper, straw, silk, and linen, Britain, c. 1760-1770
  • Williamsburg 1970-104, England, silk over straw, c. 1760-1785
  • The Return from the Fair by Edward Penny, 1765
  • Mint 2006.10A-B, a silk velvet hat with an ostrich plume and a cut steel hat pin, c. 1770
  • V&A 157-1865, straw hat trimmed with straw sheet and straw thread appliqué around the edge of the brim and crown, made in Great Britain or Italy, c. 1775-1800
  • Met 2009.300.5509, cotton, silk, and linen, European, c. 1780
  • MFA 99.664.38, straw hat covered in silk with cotton net trim, American, late 18th century to early 19th century

Dutch women’s straw hats

Note the use of fabric (often chintz) lining on the interior only, and (in some cases) a D-shape to the brim.

Depictions of 18th century women’s straw hats

This is just intended as a survey, rather than a complete list of every example possible; it provides further ideas for shape and ornamentation.