That being said, let's take a look at bonnets and color variations in the 18th century. There are several examples of bonnets on the 18th Century Notebook, and also at Dames a la Mode. I think most people will be familiar with the example in the collections of Colonial Williamsburg. That black silk bonnet, so far, is the only known 18th century bonnet that survives. In this post I would like to show some images of bonnets that will hopefully be less familiar to people. I always get excited when I come across new sources or period images.
The image below by Daniel Chodowiecki is one of the earliest known images of a bonnet.
|'A Lady Standing' by Daniel Chodowiecki, 1758|
|'Returning from the Market' Adriaan de Lelie, 1795|
|'A Market Scene' by Francis Wheatley, 1770s|
Another HUGH black bonnet.
Of course, not all black bonnets were completely black. Sometimes you see them with trim in a contrasting color. Blue, pink, and white are just a few examples I've seen in period prints.
The French Macaroni Led Astray - black with contrast trim
The Beautiful Fruit Gatherer, 1782 - black with blue trim.
Occasionally you will see white bonnets. Miss Palmer by Joshuah Reynolds is one a lovely example. Other examples of a white or light colored bonnet can be see in The Fortune Teller and The Fair Quaker. Also see The Young Mendicant.
|Miss Palmer by Joshuah Reynolds, 1780|
|Charles Bretherton, 1782, via the British Museum|
|From Cristies, 1770s|
Below is another example of a green bonnet from the Lewis Walpole Library. At Rev War events I often see this one lady with an enormous green bonnet made from emeroid green silk. I don't know who she is but her bonnet is to die for!
|This print is called Cat in Pattens. Cute, isn't she?|
Even with all the above examples, and there are others out there I'm sure, black bonnets were still the most common in the 18th century. They show up the most in period advertisements, writings, and in art work. One should take into account an artist's freedom in adding color to prints.
There is a great article about bonnets on the Hive website written by Sue Felshin.