broad-brimmed hats

There are many late 18th and early 19th century images of Welsh men and women wearing low-crowned, broad-brimmed hats.

1774
Henry Wyndham noticed broad-brimmed hats in Wales, other than in Pembrokeshire:
In the other parts of Wales, the women, as well as the men, wear large beaver hats, with broad brims flapping over their shoulders.  Nay, even some of the better sort of people affect this covering; for I afterwards met, at Llandrindod wells, three old ladies of the neighbourhood, who supped with us under the shade of their beavered umbrellas. ….
Henry Penruddocke Wyndham, A gentleman’s tour through Monmouthshire and Wales, in the months of June and July, 1774, 1775, pp. 76-78.

1780s
H.W. Bunbury produced a number of portraits of Welsh peasants including:
Peasants in the Vale of Llangollen 1781. The woman has a ‘bowler’ hat, and the man is wearing a low-crowned, broad-brimmed felt hat.

‘Welsh Peasants’ showing a large brimmed, low crowned hat, 1780s.

1791
Mrs Morgan noticed the same in south Pembrokeshire:
Their hats are rather larger than the present fashion, and lower in the crown; but they are much more convenient as a shelter from both rain and sun. Under the latter I suffer daily with my little beaver, and envy every Welsh woman I meet.
Mrs Morgan, A Tour to Milford Haven, in the Year 1791, (London, 1795), p. 272

The hat worn by Mrs Simcoe (1762–1850) in the undated portrait ‘Mrs Simcoe in Welsh dress’ has a very large floppy brim. Robertson, John Ross, The Diary of Mrs Simcoe, (1911), p. 10

1796
A print by Cruickshank of a Welsh man and woman both wearing low-crowned, broad-brimmed hats
‘Whole Length figures of Welch peasants’ by G Cruickshank from Eccentric Excursions; or literary and Pictorial Sketches of Countenance, Character, and Country in different parts of England and South Wales. Embellished with prints, 1796.

1803
John Evans noted that the women of north Pembrokeshire wore ‘a large, broad brimmed, high-crowned, beaver hat’ while the women of the south of the county sometimes wore a beaver hat with a shallow crown.
John Evans, B.A., Letters written during a tour through South Wales, in the year 1803. (London, 1804), p. 257.

Similar hats appear in pictures of working women and the gentry at the end of the 18th century.

Cunnington, C.W. and P., () Handbook of English Costume in the 18th century, which includes a print ‘The Squire’s Door after George Morland (1790s) and a print from The Ladies Pocket Book, published by G and T Wilkie, 1794; George Morland’s prints – showing large brimmed, medium-height crowned hats, normally with various trimmings, similar to the most famous hat of its type the ‘picture’ hat or Devonshire hat after Gainsborough’s painting of the Duchess of Devonshire.

 

 

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