Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Top of the Hat Parade



Sepia Saturday this week has a hat-theme and so I chose this one from my husband’s family album. It’s my father-in-law, with his parents in 1908. He was actually born 104 years ago this week, near enough to the Festive Season, to be given the name Noel, so it’s a good way to remember him too. He appears as a young man in an earlier post. I’ve always been drawn to this studio photograph because of the size of Grandma Alice’s hat. I wonder what colour it was. It’s quite a confection, balanced so beautifully atop the hairstyle of the day, and with those large scrunches of material gathered into a ball and placed either side of the head. She’s very on-trend with her fur ‘tippet’. Today’s Times Newspaper carries a fashion item titled; ‘What’s Hot? Look No Fur-ther’ and showcases several young women wearing fur coats, collars and tippets. My father-in-law is also in his best outfit, including a baby bonnet that looks a litle stiff and uncomfortable.


Here are the grandparents again, some years later, probably at a wedding. The hat has reduced in size, but the corsage of anemones makes up for it.This time the hat is worn at a jaunty angle, and doesn’t need so much hair to support it. It may be unkind to say so, but I don’t think the glasses did an awful lot for Granny and make her appear a lot older than she probably was. What a pity contact lenses hadn’t been invented then.

Big hats were obviously de rigueur for ladies in 1908. This painting by Gustav Klimt* of A Lady With a Hat is from about the same time as the first photograph above. This redheaded beauty also needed ‘big hair’ to prop up her millinery. It looks as if she has the fur wrap too, so Granny was obviously very fashionable. 





















Big hats are vital of course, if we want to protect ourselves from the sun. Some of you will recognise your blogger (if a little grumpy-looking) in this photo,  and, about thirty years later, my own daughter in her sunbonnet, made by me to match her playsuit. Like mother, like daughter!




Here on Lanzarote, the locals know about protecting themselves from the sun, and the charming picture on the left is from our wonderful agricultural museum, showing traditional head dress for females. Workers in the fields can still be seen wearing these distinctive Canarian hats, and of course there are several variations in the traditional costumes which are worn at fiestas. Most locals, and many of us residents, cover up well in the sun, but we do see some badly exposed bodies amongst holidaymakers, and believe me a hat is the least of their worries!







The wonderful picture on the right of an ‘Old Woman in a Sunbonnet’ by Doris Ulmann (1884-1934)*, shows that despite the fact that the subject took the best precaution she could to protect herself from the ravages of a fierce sun, in a life which was probably spent working outdoors in all weathers, her body has still suffered badly. She’s probably not as old as she looks and this picture should serve as a warning to all sun worshippers.



If you’ve enjoyed this post, why not throw your own hat into the ring. Join us at Sepia Saturday to see what others have come up with -  or create your own; it can’t be worse than some of the specimens at last year’s Royal Wedding.
 *Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons



25 comments:

  1. Wow! That is some hat in the first photo. Those missing teeth in the final photo also add years to the woman in the sunbonnet.

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  2. Grandma Alice's hat doesn't look that comfortable in the first photo. I wonder what would happen if she tilts her head a bit...

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  3. These are so pretty great looking hats. I like them all in there own way and purpose.

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  4. Some great hats there! The last picture, the old lady with the bonnet, is my favourite.

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  5. The hat on your father-in-law's mum does dominate the picture! In the second, the corsage is the eye-catcher for me. Eyeglasses and hats dont mix well, that's why I don't go beyond a beret. The baby bonnet pictures are so sweet but that last bonnet is definitely a cautionary tale...

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  6. Family members in the hat parade must take pride of place. Me? I'm a sucker for redheads so that Klimt portrait stands out as does the weatherbeaten lady at the end.

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  7. Great title, great photos and a fascinating read. Hard to believe that people still like to roast themselves, despite all the warnings.

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  8. When you go trawling for hats you certainly come up with quite a catch. Some wonderful images there. And thanks for giving me a new word - "tippet". Live it, I need to work out a way of incorporating it into my writing.

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    1. I think I already knew the word from years ago. I even had a real one sent from America by an aunt when I was young. It was the article in the Times which brought it back into my vocabulary.

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  9. Your in-laws are fine-looking people at both ends of their lives. This is a great collection of hats.

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  10. Lovely post, and a salutary warning about the perils of sunburn. I suspect however that the grandparents were not at risk, unless it was from an unwisely exposed shin at Blackpool in Wakes week!

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  11. At least, the hat is balanced, so she won't topple over! What a colossal creation! They sure liked them big in those days.
    Gosh, I love that Klimt! I have a Klimt print of the red-haired lady, sans hat, but I'd love to have one of this.

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  12. I never knew the word "tippet" before. My mother had some foxes she wore when I was young.They even had heads.

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  13. Your in-laws were a very handsome couple. I think you're right that Alice would have looked younger without the glasses, but they look marvelous nonetheless. I love the sunbonnet photos. How sweet.
    As for the last photo, I guess I can just be thankful that my life is so much easier. My hat's off to that hardworking lady!

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  14. I loved every one of your hat examples. Well done.

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  15. Alice in the 2nd photo looks a bit like Judy Dench!

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  16. Quite a good collection of family and not...do you think the Old lady in sunbonnet could have been the inspiration for Sun Bonnet Sue, a quilting applique pattern favorite?

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  17. Ah, I think your grandparents-in-law aged quite beautifully, Nell. They were handsome and beautiful in the first photo, and though older, just as handsome and beautiful in the second. It's grand that you have such good, clear photos of them in similar poses at two different times in their lives.

    My father always wore a hat, in every season of the year. I always thought hats were hot in the summer but I suppose, if they are loosely woven as your native Canarian's is, they at least keep off the sun.

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  18. That's a lot of hat. Love the little girl photos. For sure the protection from the sun is still a biggie and many just ignore. Love the grannie. It is hard to tell what is carried in that hat, maybe the snuff. Great post.
    QMM

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  19. Wonderful representation - love the old woman in a sunbonnet, she must have lived a full life - outside!

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  20. Wonderful theme post. Hats had such a different purpose and social symbolism in past times, especially women's hats.

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  21. Looking at this last picture,
    one word comes to mind:
    MOISTURIZER!!!
    :D~
    HUGZ

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  22. Oh my, what a grand collection and stories for hats...just truly a delight! I am so still laughing at Ticklebear's comment...but he is so right! Funny!

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  23. @ KAREN S.:
    Well
    you have to start at a young age to preserve this poor skin we have to carry around our whole life. It doesn't show, I think, but I'll soon turn 151 years old!!
    ;)~
    HUGZ

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  24. What a great collection of hats - both decorative and functional. There is nothing quite like a hat worn at a jaunty angle!

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