Collection: The Regency Wardrobe
Garment: Woman’s bonnet
Materials: quilling paper strips, tissue paper, card
Size: Life size
In La Belle Assemblée in 1806 a contributor wrote: “It is utterly impossible to describe what is most fashionable...a lady is not considered fashionable if she appears in public for two successive days in the same bonnet.” She was describing the fact that by the middle of that decade a bewildering variety of styles of hat and bonnet were available. By the 1830s brims had grown to such enormous proportions that satirists had started to take delight in poking fun at the fashion.
Filigree is inspired by two materials commonly used in constructing accessories during the Regency:
In the 1810s brimmed bonnets made of woven straw were still de rigueur. The material ‘bonnet board’ became an alternative and cheaper material, created in part because of troublesome trade routes with Napoleon’s Italy. Cardboard was pressed in a roller machine to form a design.
Metal is thought of as a heavy material but the fine metal filigree that was popular and widely used by those creating garments and accessories during the Regency era appears very light.
This piece seeks to play with the notion that a good bonnet ought to shade a ladies face from the sun but the tan achieved by such a piece as this would be patterned like filigree.
Nb. La Belle Assemblée, otherwise known as Bell’s Court, was a fashionable ladies magazine from 1806-1832. It is now best known for its fashion plates showing Regency era styles, but until the 1820s it also published original poetry and fiction, non-fiction.
Filigree is beautifully presented in an acrylic display case: H 45cms, L 45cms, W 45cms. With black velvet board beneath it it rests on a clear acrylic stand that has a single quilled flower upon it.