Contact Info:

Sarah Lorraine / Sarah Wydville (SCA)

modehistorique@gmail.com

The Ministry of Silly Hats - Dormeuse & Mob Cap Department

What is a dormeuse? What is a mob cap? Are these even the correct terms for the light, lacy, infinitely silly caps worn by ladies in the late 18th century? Well, to be honest, I don't yet know. But in the spirit of sharing, I am starting here with a little collection of these frilly fripperies that are often called dormeuses or mob caps by modern sources. Some appear to be worn indoors, some informally, and some out doors under more structured hats.

My research, which thus far has been limited to strictly visual sources, recently turned up a nice little post by Ray at Joel Segal Books, on the etymological breakdown of the term "mob cap." A quick check of the Oxford Dictionary Online reveals that the earliest usage for "dormeuse" is 1735 and the earliest usage of "mob cap" is 1785. Hm. Which one is correct? Considering my focus is roughly around 1775-1785, I could go either way.

All images are linked to their respective sources, and are intended for educational and personal use only. Do not reproduce, sell, or otherwise appropriate these images without permission from the institutions/individuals that own them.

Artist: Unknown (English)

Title: The Paintress of Macaronis

Date: 1772

Location: Yale Walpole Library

Accession No. N/A

Artist: Benjamin van der Gucht (English)

Title: Sophy Coates

Date: 1774

Location: Norwich Castle Museum

Accession No. NWHCM : 1940.29 : F

Artist: John Singleton Copley (American)

Title: Mrs. Ralph Izard (Alice Delancey)

Date: 1775

Location: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Accession No. 03.1033

Artist: Thomas Gainsborough (English)

Title: Mrs. Philip Dupont

Date: c. 1778

Location: Art Institute of Chicago Collection

Accession No. AIC_.1987.139

Artist: Jean-Francois Janinet (French)

Title: Portrait of Madeline Rose Bertin

Date: c. 1780

Location: N/A

Accession No. N/A

Artist: Joshua Reynolds (English)

Title: Portrait of Lavinia Bingham, Countess Spencer

Date: 1781

Location: N/A

Accession No. N/A

Artist: George Romney (English)

Title: Mrs. Mary Robinson (Perdita)

Date: 1781

Location: N/A

Accession No. N/A

Artist: Joseph Boze (French)

Title: Portrait of the Comptesse d'Artois

Date: 1783

Location: N/A

Accession No. N/A

Artist: Ralph Earl (American)

Title: Portrait of a Lady

Date: 1784

Location: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Accession No. FASF.132539

Artist: George Morland (English)

Title: Portrait of Mrs. William Ward, the artist's sister

Date: c.1785-95

Location: Victoria & Albert Museum

Accession No. DYCE.728

Artist: Adélaïde Labille-Guiard (French)

Title: Portrait of a Woman

Date: 1787

Location: Musée des beaux-arts de Quimper, France

Accession No. N/A

Artist: Adélaïde Labille-Guiard (French)

Title:Portrait de Adélaïde de France

Date: 1787

Location: Musée national des Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon

Accession No. N/A

Artist: Adélaïde Labille-Guiard (French)

Title: Victoire Louise Marie Therese de France, dite Madame Victoire

Date: 1788

Location: Musée national des Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon

Accession No. N/A

Artist: Joshua Reynolds (English)

Title: Mrs. Lewis Thomas Watson (Mary Elizabeth Milles)

Date: 1789

Location: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Accession No. 1987.47.2

Artist: Ralph Earl (American)

Title: Mrs. Oliver Wolcott (Laura Collins)

Date: 1789

Location: N/A

Accession No. N/A

Artist: George Morland (English)

Title: Fruits of Early Industry and Economy

Date: 1789

Location: Philadelphia Museum of Art

Accession No. PMA_.M1928-1-19

Artist: Charles Willson Peale (American)

Title: Rachel Leeds Kerr

Date: 1790

Location: Dallas Museum of Art

Accession No. DMA_.1989.23

Artist: Ralph Earl (American)

Title: Mrs. Richard Alsop

Date: 1792

Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum

Accession No. SAAM .1975.49.1

Artist: Johann Eckstein (active in the U.S. 1794-1817)

Title: The Samels Family (detail)

Date: 1794-1800

Location: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Accession No. 59.194

   

 

 

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