COLLECTION: Costume Accessories

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Woman's Calash Bonnet, Black Silk

Origin: England
Overall Depth including ruffle: 17"
Ribbed silk, cane or reed
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1960-722
Woman's calash bonnet of black silk taffeta lined with pink silk and padded with soft cotton batting; ruffled at neck edge. Bonnet is fashioned with four flat cane or reed ribs in crown. Ribbons stitched to face edge are probably for the wearer to hold to keep the calash from collapsing backwards in the wind.
Label:Black Calash (Collapsible Bonnet)
England, ca. 1780
Silk, reeds

Calashes had a series of reeds or other flexible materials inserted between channels in the silk to hold the bonnet away from the head and thus preserve elaborate hair styles from being crushed. The name of the calash came from a type of carriage with a folding hood, not unlike the cloth convertible top on a modern automobile.
Provenance:Ex Coll. Doris Langley Moore