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A large collapsible bonnet with a pale green silk exterior, lined with sheer plainweave cotton. The hood is supported by four baleen hoops. Each hoop passes through a stitched channel. The back is oval and gathered at the center. Front ruffle appears to have gathered about the face using green silk ribbons (partially extant) passed through a self-casing, and hung as shown in photograph, with original bobbin lace attached. A long braid (later replacement) attached at the center top, running diagonally to proper left shoulder allowed wearer to raise and lower the bonnet.
Big, powdered hairstyles popular in the late eighteenth century required suitable protection. Calashes were collapsible bonnets, named for convertible carriage covers that were the design inspiration. This calash is enormous, standing over two feet high.
Thought to have originated with the fashionable Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire (1757-1806), early calashes like this were typically constructed of green silk.
34 x 24 (HxW) (inches)
Gift of Joseph Endriss
Possibly Boston (Suffolk county, Massachusetts)
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