Twisted turban shape entirely covered with rows of overlapping small pheasant feathers. Lined with chocolate brown viscose.

Display Label

This hat from the 1950s has been made in a long tradition of decorating women's hats with bird's feathers of varying types and sizes. Here we see natural pheasant's feathers, in mottled browns and tans, overlapping to cover the whole hat. In this case, of course, the feathers are the by-product of the commercial sport of shooting game like grouse and pheasant. However, the heyday for the use of feathers in millinery had been in the 1880s and 1890s when whole birds could be displayed, and countless thousand rare birds were slaughtered just for their plumage. In 1889, the Royal Society for the Portection of Birds was founded, largely to protest against such needless killing, and to try to preserve some of the endangered species. During the 1950s and 1960s, turbans and swathed round hats were fashionable, often completely covered in fur, pleated bands of fabric or, in this case, pheasant or dyed hen feathers. Rare birds such as osprey or hummingbird have rarely been used after the 1930s, because just as with the fur of wild animals, public sensibility would not now allow it. The other hat shown is decorated with a bold ostrich feather, again like pheasant, a domesticated bird. The fan sports a whole hummingbird in the macabre tradition of the mid nineteenth century.

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Whole: 25cm

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