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Benares House Gallery
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Title: Bonnet
Identifier: 978.34.1
Donor: Jean Woods
Item Date: 1870 - 1890
Creation Date: 2012
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: A black silk pleated bonnet with wide (7 cm) black grosgrain ribbon ties. Added (white) cotton gauze ruffle trim with silk ribbon (3.1 cm wide) ties. Lining appears to be replaced; it is hand hemmed with a long stitch, whip-stitched along the neck edge and tacked along the upper and side edges. The frame is made of horsehair (?) perhaps buckram - coarsely woven material with a steel edge at the front, sides, and neck. The pleats are vertical in placement, with a top knot at the centre front. Stamped on the inside of the bonnet in large gold lettering is: "Thomas Atkinson 70 Bold Street, Liverpool."

A merchant, Thomas Atkinson owned a shop at 70 Bold Street, Liverpool, England. According to the Liverpool city planning department, the site 70-74 Bold St. was to be re-developed in Autumn 2005 by Alross Estates Ltd., to convert the upper floors to 16 self-contained flats.

A bonnet is a kind of headgear which is usually brimless. The most common kind of bonnet worn today is a soft head covering for babies. They are shaped similarly to the kind of bonnets women used to wear, that is, they cover the hair and ears, but not the forehead. In the mid-18th century "house bonnets" worn by women and girls were generally brimless head coverings which were secured by tying under the chin. They were worn indoors, to keep the hair neat, and outdoors to keep dust out of the hair. With hairstyles becoming increasingly elaborate after 1770, bonnets became more structured and larger. The wide brims of poke bonnets developed to prevent wind-chapping when taking the air out of doors in an open carriage. The effects of sun and wind on the skin had connotations of countrified rude health. Bonnets remained one of the most common types of headgear worn by women throughout the 19th century. Silk bonnets, elaborately pleated and ruched, were worn outdoors or in public places like shops, galleries, churches, and during visits to acquaintances. Most middle class women would have had at least two bonnets, one suitable for summer weather, often made from straw, and one made from heavier fabric for winter wear. Wealthier women would have many more bonnets suitable for different occasions. REF:

Also refrence: "Handbook of English Costume in the 19th Century" by C. Willett Cunnington & Phillis Cunnington. Page 378.
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