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Man's Cap (France)

This is a Man's cap. It is dated late 17th–early 18th century and we acquired it in 1944. Its medium is wool embroidery on linen foundation and its technique is embroidered in stem, chain, and overcast loop stitches on plain weave. It is a part of the Textiles department.

This nightcap, dating from the late 17th or early 18th century, was made using a technique called crewel, a type of embroidery worked with wool yarn on linen. Since men had shaved heads or very short hair to accommodate their wigs during this period, they wore caps like this one to keep warm after their wigs were removed. A wig, usually powdered and curled, was standard dress for men of most classes, and it was worn even at the most informal and private events. This lavish nightcap was thus intended for solitary activities, like writing, and only the most intimate guests would have seen it. Some crewel embroidery was produced at home, although professionally embroidered clothing was increasingly common. The exotic flowers and scrolling stems on this cap are frequently found in crewel embroidery. Some imported cotton textiles from India, called chintz, have similar patterns since crewel embroidery influenced the design of many of the chintzes produced for export to England.

This object was featured in our Object of the Week series in a post titled Keep Warm with a Smart Cap.

This object was donated by Mrs. DeWitt Clinton Cohen and DeWitt Clinton Cohen. It is credited Gift of Mr. and Mrs. DeWitt Clinton Cohen in memory of the Misses Hewitt.

  • Cap (Spain)
  • silk.
  • Gift of Richard C. Greenleaf.
  • 1951-105-35

Its dimensions are

H x diam.: 17.8 x 24.1 cm (7 x 9 1/2 in.)

Cite this object as

Man's Cap (France); wool embroidery on linen foundation; H x diam.: 17.8 x 24.1 cm (7 x 9 1/2 in.); Gift of Mr. and Mrs. DeWitt Clinton Cohen in memory of the Misses Hewitt; 1944-1-1

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Man's Cap (France) |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=10 June 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>